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Center panel of Women at the beach of Futami-ga-ura

Identifier: 1803-4c Utamaro Beach

This is the center panel of a triptych. The publisher was Wakasaya Yoichi, whose seal appears on the two outer panels.

"Heading for the beach at Futami-ga-ura early in the morning; a group of women enjoy themselves at the coast, worshipping the morning sun rising between the distinctive 'wedded rocks'. Futami-ga-gura was a famous beauty spot which pilgrims bound for the Ise Shrines would always include in their itinerary. It is not necessary to look for deep significance in the fact that only women are portrayed, or the fact that they are not dressed in travelling clothes. The composition has no other intention than that of combining a group portrait of women, in the genre of 'pictures of customs at famous places' (meisho fūzokuga)."

The quote above is on page 245 of the text volume of The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro by Shugō Asano and Timothy Clark. The whole triptych is illustrated in color in plates the image volume on page 207.


In 1891 Edmond de Goncourt wrote in Outamaro of this triptych in 1881:

Pèlerinage à Isé. Dans un endroit célèbre par ses levers de soleil, à Isé, près des deux rochers sortant de la mer reliés par un câble en paille, près de ces rochers sacrés, appelés Miôto-Iwa – rochers du couple – et regardés comme l'emblème d'un mari et d'une femme, et auxquels les jeunes mariés viennent adresser les prières pour le bonheur de leur mariage et la naissance d'enfants, une société de femmes sur la plage s'amusent à ôter leurs chaussures et à marcher pieds nus dans le flot, leurs longues robes relevées des deux mains.



1) in a small black and white reproduction in 浮世絵八華 (Ukiyo-e hakka), vol. 3 (Utamaro), Heibonsha, 1985, p. 138. The whole triptych.

2) in color, the whole triptych in Ukiyo-e From Prague Revisiting Japan (プラハ 国立 美術館 所蔵 浮世絵展 : 開館 200周年 記念), 1995, p. 32.

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