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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Out-of-the-Blue Bird (Tenkara tori): The Millet-eating Bird/ Panic Bird (Awakuidori)

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Refers to the unrest at the time of, and shortly before, the Meiji restoration, when wealthy people were moving their holdings here and there in search of a secure place. The bird's body is made up of coins, account books, chests, cartwheels, etc.; the grains of millet are also coins. ...

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By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850–d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 19, 2005) NOTES: [1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

Japanese, Edo period–Meiji era, about 1866–68 (Keiô 2–Meiji 1)

Catalogue Raisonné

Inagaki, Edo no asobi-e (1988), #34


Vertical ôban diptych

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper