This surely does not cross the minds of kids fixing their fingers into bunnies and birds for their bunkmates to enjoy, but shadow play is an ancient form of storytelling, likely originating in Asia and dating back to the 1st millennium BCE. When Hiroshige created Eight Shadow Figures in 1842, toward the end of the Edo period, forming shadow figures with various hand gestures was a common pastime for kids. (Some even consider it an early type of Japanese anime.) Prints like Eight Shadow Figures would have helped wee ones hone their shapes—in this case, from behind a translucent shoji screen. The eight patterns pictured here (clockwise from upper right) model a turtle on a rock, a man wearing a hat, a rabbit, a shachihoko (a mythical creature with the head of dragon and the body of a dolphin), an owl, a fox, a snail, and a crow. Quite the motley crew! There’s also written instructions walking would-be puppeteers through movements: “open your fingers within your sleeve to move the owl’s wings,” “draw up your knee for the fox’s back,” “move the chopsticks up and down [snail].” One print, hours of entertainment—and if you ask us, that effect’s still going strong ... More on the blog!
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available
Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.
Museo Portfolio Rag