Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

1786-1865

A Pictorial Commentary on One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets: no. 93, Kamakura Minister of the Right
(Hyakunin isshu esho: Kamakura no Udaijin)

signed Kochoro Toyokuni ga with red Toshidama seal, censor's seals Hama and Kingusa, followed by the publisher's seal Sanoki (Sanoya Kihei of Kikaudo), ca. 1847

oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 9 7/8 in., 36 by 25.2 cm

A standing beauty holds a gold lacquer jubako (stacked box) the lid of which is slightly askew.

After issuing the 37th design in this series (except no. 47) of 100 poet prints, Kunisada changed the framework of the compositions by eliminating the series title and replacing the poem cards with a cartouche in the shape of an open book illustrating the featured poet and poem. Capitalizing on his recent success as illustrator of the serialized novel by Ryutei Tanehiko, Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji (A Rustic Genji by a Fraudulent Murasaki) which was published from 1829-1842, Kunisada introduced Genji-related motifs to 42 subsequent prints this series and referenced his own designs from the covers of the updated Genji. The composition of this print references the illustration on the first double page of part I of volume 35.

The open book cartouche overlapping a band of genjimon (Genji incense patterns) illustrates a portrait of the Kamakura Minister of the Right, Minamoto no Sanetomo, accompanied by his poem number 93 from the Hyakunin isshu.

Yo no naka ha
tsune ni mogamo na
nagisa kogu
ama no wo-bune no
tsunade kanashi mo

If only this world
could always remain the same!
The sight of them towing
the small boats of the fishermen
who row in the tide
is touching indeed!

References:
Joshua S. Mostow, The Hundred Poets Compared, 2007, p. 220, no. 93 (poem translation)
Jeff Hopewell, Kunisada 100 Poets Prints Derived from Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji Images, Kunisada.de, 2008
Andreas Marks, Genji's World in Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2021, pp. 14-15
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.15463
(inv. no. 10-5254)

price: $950

kikumon

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