Torii Kotondo, (1900-1976)

Morning Hair

Signed Kotondo ga with red rectangular artist's seal, Shi. Published by Ikeda, the blocks carved by Maeda Kentaro and printed by Maejima. Red oval collector's seal Tobin on lower left margin. With publisher's limited edition paper seal hand-numbered on verso, Ikeda, Asanegami, dai san go (published by Ikeda, Morning Hair, number 3 from a limited edition), with red circular seal (probably Torii). Undated, published by Ikeda in 1930.

dai oban tate-e 30 by 46.5 cm

James D. Tobin, Portland, Oregon

The term asanegami, literally translated as 'hair of a late riser,' is evocative of the morning following a romantic encounter, and is found in literature as far back as the 8th century, in the anthology Manyoshu (see translation by Donald Keene reprinted in The New Wave, p. 202). Apparently this was far too lascivious for Japanese authorities in 1930: after only seventy prints had been sold, the government is reported to have confiscated and destroyed the woodblocks and the remaining unsold prints. Although this story has yet to be confirmed, there is no doubt that this is an exceedingly rare print, which is indeed surprising given that it is also breathtakingly beautifully and would have likely, given the opportunity, enjoyed a very successful run of multiple editions. There is little other explanation for the rarity of this design.



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site last updated
November 8, 2019

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475