Master the playful art of shadow puppetry with a little help from Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858). The prolific ukiyo-e artist, known primarily for his poetic woodcuts of the Tkaido and views of Edo, also has an educational series of omocha-e, or toy pictures for children showing how to turn their hands towards a snail or rabbit, or grab a mat to imitate a bird sitting on a branch. Appear behind a translucent shoji Screen, the clever characters range from simple animals to fighting warriors and come complete with prop suggestions, written instructions to set the creatures in motion – “open your fingers in your sleeve to move the owl’s wings” or “pull” your knee for the “fox’s back” – and instructions for full-body contortions.
Prints of the eight-digit table shown above, published by Hiroshige in 1842, are available from Flashbak, and you can explore a huge archive with thousands of his works The Minneapolis Institute of Art website. (above Presenting & correcting)
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