Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)


A Pictorial Commentary on One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets: no. 72, Yoshi Naishinnoke no Kii
(Hyakunin isshu esho: Yoshi Naishinnoke no Kii)

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

oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 10 in., 36.1 by 25.5 cm

A beauty wearing loosely secured robes with her long hair falling over her shoulders appears to have emerged from the bath, a subtle watery reference to the waves mentioned in accompanying poem.

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 cover illustration of part II in volume 4.

The open book cartouche overlapping a band of genjimon (Genji incense patterns) illustrates a portrait of Yoshi Naishinnoke no Kii (Kii of Princesss Yushi's household) paired with her poem number 72 from the Hyakunin isshu.

Oto ni kiku
takashi no hama no
ada-nami ha
kakeji ya sode no
nure mo koso sure

Known far and wide,
the unpredictable waves
of Takashi's beach--
I will not let them catch me--
For I'd be sorry should my sleeves get wet!

Joshua S. Mostow, The Hundred Poets Compared, 2007, p. 179, no. 72 (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. 10-5248)

price: $950


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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
fx: (212) 585-0475