Narita Morikane, Lamp

Narita Morikane, Lamp, detail

Narita Morikane, dates unknown

Twenty-Four Figures of Charming Women: Lamp
(Adesugata Nijushiko: Ranpu)

a beauty kneels before a small table as she reaches up to a lamp with a fringed shade, a small tray of toiletries in the lower left corner is embellished with bright silver mica; the series title at the upper right, Adesugata Nijushiko; signed below, Morikane, with artist's seal Morikane, publisher's mark Yamase and seal at lower left corner, Hanken shoyu fukyo fukusei, Shinbisha (copyright ownership, reproduction not allowed, Shinbisha), ca. 1931

dai oban tate-e 16 7/8 by 11 1/4 in., 43 by 28.5 cm

The biographical details of Narita Morikane are unknown. This collaborative series, with designs by Morikane and Ohira Kasen (1900-1983), may never have been completed. The innocuous title, Twenty-four Figures of Charming Women, refers to the classical Confucian theme, Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety (Nijushiko), but belies this series of rather risqué designs. This beauty, with her moga ('modern girl') hairstyle, is particularly suggestive, the cloth draped over her shoulders falls open to reveal her breasts; and her red under-garment barely covers the area below her waist. As all twenty-four designs have not been recorded (yet), it is possible that the publisher, Shinbisha, was forced to stop production due to pressure from the government which was becoming more nationalistic and conservative in the 1930s.

Reigle Newland, Amy, and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th century prints of Japanese beauties, 2000, no. 204



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