Nagajuban (long under-kimono)
Stenciled; kata yuzen and hand-applied colors

In the second half of the 19th century, foreign circuses began traveling to Japan. In 1886, a triptych ukiyoe by Chikanobu depicts the Chiarini Circus in Japan, with horses, tigers, a lion, an ostrich and an elephant. This nagajuban features various circus scenes with what appear to be westerners in western costume.

One gets the impression that putting this unusual theme on a nagajuban may have been a way to salvage as much as possible from a larger length of cloth that suffered some damage.

The sketches are repeated, but the color details have been applied by hand, and show minor differences.

Above, it can be seen that the paste resist for the stencil was applied slightly unevenly. Below, Chikanobu’s circus triptych. Chikanobu’s drawing style was popular during the Meiji period; the drawing style on the nagajuban seems to place it in the very early 20th century.