Kitagawa Utamaro


First Lucky Dream of the New Year: 1-Fuji, 2-Falcon, 3-Eggplant
(Hatsuyume: Ichi-Fuji, Ni-Taka, San-Nasubi)

in the benigirai-e (avoid red) palette, each sheet signed Utamaro hitsu with publisher's seal Mura, (Eiyudo, Murataya Jirobei) and censor's Kiwame seal, ca. 1798

oban tate-e triptych 29 3/8 by 15 in., 74.7 by 38.2 cm

A triptych illustrating a grouping of figures with Mt. Fuji in the distance. At left, two young woman select eggplants from baskets resting beside a porter. The center panel with two more women strolling with a young boy who has a small falcon resting on his wrist, one holding his sword. And the right panel with a young man with a larger falcon accompanied by a beauty kneeling beside holding his sword wrapped in a cloth and another lounging on a bench enjoying a tobacco pipe. The print was produced in the benigirai-e ('avoid red' print) palette, which limited the colors used on prints to yellow, purple, green, grey, black and sometimes light blue. The muted palette was popular from the 1780s into the 1790s.

The trio of Fuji, falcon, and eggplant, known as Ichi-Fuji, Ni-Taka, San-Nasubi (1-Fuji, 2-Falcon, 3-Eggplant), is related to the belief that it is lucky to dream of the three images in the first dream of the New Year, known as the hatsuyume. As New Year's eve was usually spent without sleeping, the first opportunity to dream would occur on the following night, which is why in the traditional Japanese calendar January 2 is known as Hatsuyume. The meaning and origin of the superstition is unknown, as is the lesser-known continuation of the list, Yon-sen, Go-Tobako, Roku-Zato (4- Fan, 5- Tobacco, 6- Blind person or masseur). This triptych represents the classic combination of the first three, the inclusion of a tobacco pipe is likely incidental.

price: Sold


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site last updated
May 20, 2022

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