Gagaku Instrument: Ryūteki, Named “Fukuhara”

Gagaku Instrument: Ryūteki, Named “Fukuhara”
Length 40.2 cm; Kamakura period, 13th century; Gift of the Ii Family

This transverse flute was named after the port of Fukuhara (present-day Kobe), home base of twelfth-century political leader Taira no Kiyomori, and at one time a location of the capital. Its name reverberates with images of the rise and fall of the power of the Taira clan. This piece is likely the “Ryūteki named Fukuhara” mentioned in the Shūko jisshu (Ten Types of Antiquities), an illustrated record of antiques and art objects published in 1800. The case is decorated with an elaborate butterfly design on a pear-skin ground. It was crafted by Yamada Jōka, a popular maki-e artist of the Edo period.

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