Matsukawa Hanzan: School Children - Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Artist: Matsukawa Hanzan

Title: School Children

Date: Edo period

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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
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Each holding a textbook, these three children are on their way home from school. Their umbrellas, dutifully carried to school in case of rain, are now a useless burden. One boy, however, is putting his to creative use. With a book on his head and the umbrella standing on his palm, he playfully performs a balancing act. This feat impresses the other boy and elicits a laugh from the girl. Schools for the children of non-warrior classes in the Edo period (1603-1868) were called terakoya, or temple schools, because they were usually located within temple grounds. At these schools, the new term started in February, which corresponds to the season mentioned in the eleven poems inscribed at the left. Hanzan's depiction of simple amusements of childhood is timelessly charming.

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