JAPANESE PRINTS

A MILLION QUESTIONS

TWO MILLION MYSTERIES

 

Ukiyo-e Prints

浮世絵版画

Port Townsend, Washington

 

UTAGAWA KUNISADA

川国貞

うたがわくにさだ

1786-1865

Series: "Seven Contemporary Beauties"

Correction: "Seven Contemporary Beaties as Komachi"

當世美人七小町

"Tōsei bijin... Nana Komachi"

Subject: Amagoi Komachi

(i.e., rain-prayer Komachi)

雨乞小町

あまごい.こまち

Publisher: Kawaguchiya Uhei

川口屋卯兵

かわぐちやうへい

Date: Ca. 1825-30

Correction: 1823 (based on the date given by the MFA, Boston)

Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga

 署名: 五渡亭国貞画

 しょめい: ごとていくにさだが

Size: 15 3/16" 10 1/4"

Illustrated on-line:

There is another copy of this print in the collection of the Hagi Uragami Museum.

There is also a copy in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

ORIGINALLY

$1,400.00

NOW ON SALE FOR

$1,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is an example of a Toyokuni I print from his series Modern Girls as the Seven Komachi. Toyokuni was Kunisada's teacher. Intellect as well as style must have rubbed off.

 

Click on the picture above to go to the home page of the Lyon Collection. Then do a search on "Komachi" and then click on the image that comes up.

 

 

 

 

 

Allen Hockley has written:

"Since classical poetry from the Heian period was often collected and presented in numerical/thematic groupings, it came ready-made as a potential framing device. Examples include the Six Immortal Poets (rokkasen), the Six Jewel Rivers (mu tamagawa) and the Seven Episodes in the Life of Ono no Komachi (nana Komachi). Ukiyo-e producers used mitate to link the poets, the poems, or the sentiments they expressed with images of contemporary females."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hako-makura

Box pillow

箱枕

はこまくら

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publisher:

Kawaguchiya Uhei

 

 

 

 

View of the backside of the print seen above.

 

Kiwame seal used between ca. 1790 and 1842. 

 

 

Ono の Komachi
小野小町
おののこまち
ことわりや
Kotowariya
日の本ならば
hi no moto naraba
照りもせめ
teri mo sen
さりとてはまた
saritote wa mata
あめが下とは
ame ga shita to wa
 

Sebastian Izzard notes that this poem attributed to the 9th century poet Ono no Komachi is an expression of the power of her poetry. She has written that the sun-beaten land is also that same land where rain must fall. Komachi's poem is credited with ending a long drought.  Izzard also points out her popularity in ukiyo-e and illustrates this with a different print by Kunisada from ca. 1818-20 called "A Parody of the 'Invoking the Rain' Episode."

 

 

 

THIS IS OLD HAT

TO THOSE IN THE KNOW.

 

Anyone who has had a fair amount of experience with Japanese prints knows that one of the ways prints can be identified as coming from a particular series is the title cartouche or possibly by the use of other repetitious motifs. This is nothing new to the majority of collectors, but for those of you who would consider yourselves novices this can be quite a revelation. Below are four small details of the insets which can be found on another print from this series. It speaks for itself.

 

   

 

 

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