Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865
Preparatory Drawing for print 'ABC Poems for Beautiful Courtesans: The Syllable Ro, Tsukasa of the Ogiya'
(Bijin Keisei iroha tanka: Ro Ogiya uchi Tsukasa)
sumi ink drawing with detailed notations for the carver and printer indicating the intended coloration, unsigned, ca. early 1820s
conserved on achival paper 15 3/4 by 11 in., 40.1 by 27.8 cm
This drawing relates directly to a woodblock print from Kunisada's Bijin Keisei iroha Tanka series published in the early 1820s by Yamaguchiya Tobei of Kinkodo. It appears to be the near-final version of the composition, with very detailed instructions for the carver and printer on how the coloration should be addressed. While the absolute final version of the design, the hanshita, would be destroyed in the normal process of carving the keyblock, drawings of this type would have been helpful to keep on hand during the production process, particularlly for the printer, to ensure that the artist's intentions were followed.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 11.15644 (dated about 1810s-1820s)
Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, accession no. 2005.298 (dated 1822)
(inv. no. 10-2688)
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
October 18, 2020
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...