Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)


A Pictorial Commentary on One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets: no. 81, Priest Doin
(Hyakunin isshu esho: Doin-hoshi)

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

oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 10 in., 36 by 25.5 cm

A seated beauty holds a tobacco pipe in one hand, and a small ashtray e and tobacco pouch in the other. She wears a furisode (lit. 'swinging sleeves') kimono of deep blue which gradates to a light grey towards the hem where it is adorned with a scattering of seashells. The design compliments the previous print in the series, number 80, illustrating a standing girl with a similarly decorated kimono, together referencing the lovelorn salt-gathering sisters, Matsukaze ('pine wind') and Murasame ('passing rain'). One could also associate print number 79 from the series, which ostensibly illustrates the object of their affection, Ariwara no Yukihira, although the compositions themselves do not connect.

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 is the reversed image of the cover of part I of volume 17.

The cartouche in the shape of an open book overlapping a band of genjimon (Genji incense patterns) depicts a portrait of the poet Doin Hoshi paired with his poem (Hyakunin isshu no. 82):

sate mo inochi ha
aru mono wo
uki ni tahenu ha
namida narikeri

nonetheless, somehow
I cling to life, but
it is my tears
that cannot endure the pain!

Joshua S. Mostow, The Hundred Poets Compared, 2007, p. 199, no. 82 (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
(inv. no. 10-5251)

price: $650


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site last updated
May 25, 2023

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