On the Belly of Calmness, the Hand of Anxiety (Dokyô no hara no ue, awate to iu te)

「どきやうのはらの上」 「あわてといふ手」

Edo period
1863 (Bunkyû 3)
Artist Unknown, Japanese, Publisher Kawanabe Kyôsai (Japanese, 1831–1889)

Catalogue Raisonné

MFA/Geidai, Double Impact (2015), #2; Kaikan sanjû shûnen kinen Kawanabe Kyôsai kinen bijutsukan cat. (2008), p. 130, #1118; Nagura, Etoki bakumatsu fûshi-ga to tennô (2007), p. 18; Konishi, Nishiki-e Bakumatsu Meiji no rekishi 1 (1977), pp. 16-7


Vertical ôban diptych; 36.6 x 47 cm (14 7/16 x 18 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

Not On View


Asia, Prints and Drawings



MFA impressions: 11.36152a-b, 11.42017a-b, 11.42032a-b, 11.45474a-b

The two body parts symbolize contrasting reactions on the parts of citizens of Edo to the news of a possible foreign invasion. At the lower right, people not afflicted by unsettled stomachs calmly go about their business. Above, those affected by “the Hand (te) of Anxiety (awate)” worry that there may be a war and rush about making plans to sell their homes, move their possessions out of town, etc.




By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850–d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (Accession Date: January 19, 2005)

[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection