Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)


Collection of Otsu-e: Chokaro's Horse
(Otsu-e tsukushi: Chokaro)

signed Konomi ni ojite Kunisada ga, with censor's seal kiwame, and publisher's mark Hayashi (Iseya Rihei of Kinjudo), ca. 1827

oban tate-e 15 1/8 by 10 1/8 in., 38.5 by 25.7 cm

A barefoot bijin stands near the edge of a verandah as she exits a woman's bath house, its entrance for working women designated by the blue banner in the background which reads jochu (maid). She holds her geta (thonged platform sandals) in one hand and lifts the skirts of her clothing in another. Her loosely secured layers of clothing display a variety of contrasting patterns: the pale grey outer kimono with brown and blue plaid misuji-koushi (three striped lattice) displays umemon (plum crests) on her back and sleeve (likely the crest of her employer); the middle kimono is decorated with a green and yellow shippo (overlapping circles); and her brown obi features a pattern fundo-tsunagi (named for the shape of traditional weight measures). She holds between her teeth the edge of a blue and white tenugui (towel) draped over her shoulder, and carries a blue and white yukata (cotton kimono) bundled under her arm, likely in preparation to return it to an attendant at the entrance.

This print is from a series pairing beauties with popular subjects depicted in the lively folk paintings produced in the village of Otsu. The image in the upper right cartouche is that of Chokaro's Horse. According to legend, the Sennin (Chinese sage) Chokaro carried gourd from which he could magically summon his horse at will.

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession number 11.43105

(inv. no. 10-5226)

price: $2,200

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)



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