6-fold screen decorated with ink, color and gold pigment on paper. This screen is a part of a pair. It's partner depicts a lion dance.
Street performance has a long and rich history in Japan. Monkey dances were associated with New Year’s festivities and in samurai households they were commissioned as rituals to protect horses from harm. Over the course of the Edo period, this form of entertainment became more secularized as itinerant performers plied their trade.
This painting portrays the Thunder God (Raijin), a powerful and ferocious figure, is fishing for his drum, carelessly dropped in the ocean.
This painting is an example of Otsu-e, a type of folk painting originating not far from Kyoto in the present-day Shiga Prefecture towns of Otsu, Oiwake, and Otani. Otsu-e were produced with cheap local materials and stencils were used to facilitate mass production, making them affordable even to the lower classes.
By the latter half of the seventeenth century, Otsu-e became more secular. This humorous painting among other Otsu-e had strong popular appeal, and made their way into the art and literature of famous Edo period figures. Otsu-e with iconography associated with beneficial powers would later function as amulets.