Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

1786-1865

Famous Places in the Eastern Capital: Year-End Fair at Asakusa
(Toto meisho: Asakusa toshi no ichi)

each sheet signed Toyokuni ga, with publisher seal Tsuta (Tsutaya Umejiro), censor's seal Aratame (examined) and date seal Tora-uruu-nana (the year of the tiger [1854] intercalary 7th month)

oban tate-e triptych 14 3/8 by 28 5/8 in., 36.5 by 72.6 cm

Three sophisticated beauties holding umbrellas pause on a snowy evening in front of the Hozomon Gate inside the Senso-ji temple grounds in Asakusa. At center a young beauty wearing a furisode (swinging sleeves) kimono suitable for an unmarried teenaged girl turns to look at her companion to her right while gesturing towards the other to her left. With a scarf wrapped around her head and bundled against the cold in voluminous layers, her purplish grey uchikake (formal cloak) decorated with a subtle pattern of pinstripes and stylized waves folds open slightly below the waist to reveal the white and green floral pattern of her underrobe. Her companions wear matching dark blue uchikake with black silk collars, red waist sashes, and black lacquer geta (raised sandals). The right figure lifts up the hem of her kosode decorated with a red and white tatewaku (rising steam) pattern, while the green and white star or floral pattern of the kosode of the figure on the left is only visible at the collar and hem. All three beauties wear tabi socks with their geta to protect their feet from the cold and wet snow.

Behind them we see the inner view of the Hozomon Gate at Senso-ji, with its famous large lanterns just visible over the central beauty's shoulders. As they have passed through the gate, they are facing the main temple, and the iconic five-story pagoda is off to the right, tucked behind the title cartouche in the upper right corner. Snow falls gently against the dark sky, but the grounds are bustling with undeterred revelers and shoppers enjoying the annual year-end fair.

References:
Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (MAK, left & right sheets only)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, accession no. M.73.37.608 (left sheet only)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (collections.mfa.org), accession no. 47.37-9

(inv. no. C-3388)

price: Sold


Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)
detail (center sheet)


Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)
detail (left sheet)

kikumon

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