Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: The Dance Teacher - Odori shishō (踊師匠) from the series
'A Collection of Modern Beauties' - Tōsei bijin awase (当世美人合)

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Dates: circa 1826,created
Dimensions: 10.25 in,14.125 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Kōchōrō Kunisada ga
Publisher: Moritaya Hanzō (Marks 352 - seal 23-026)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Lyon (another example);National Diet Library;

Physical description:

Sebastian Izzard wrote in Kunisada's World on page 105: "Seated in front of a candle-lit makeup mirror, the young dancing girl... prepares for a performance by applying rouge to her eyelids to make her eyes appear larger. She wears the hairstyle typical of a kamuro or trainee courtesan, with elaborate floral sprays, combs and silk cords. The girl is dressed in a red and white kimono decorated with a pattern of autumn grasses; the collar and lining have a lotus-root design. Her red under-robe has a striped collar. In the fan-shaped vignette above are her accoutrements: a pair of clappers for keeping the rhythm, a wig stand, the libretto of a song and a porcelain cup with a lacquer cover. The porcelain is decorated with the artist's toshidama seals.

The composition, although crowded, is full of realistic detail - for example, the distortion of the girl's eyelids caused by her finger. Interesting touches are added by the porcelain bowl with a bat design and by a hand towel decorated with the crest of Danjūrō VII."


There are at least 10 known different designs from this set. The Lyon Collection owns 3 of these - one in duplicate. See also #s 435, 612 and 1202.


The black and white title cartouche in the upper right is in the form of a stylized 'decayed tree branch' or kuchiki (朽木).


Illustrated in:

1) 歌川国貞:美人画を中心に, (Utagawa Kunisada : bijinga o chūshin ni), 1996, #88, p. 58.

2) Kunisada: Imaging Drama and Beauty by Robert Schaap, et al., #23.