Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
Sudden Shower on the Way Home from the Fuji Festival (Fuji kaeri no yūdachi - 富士帰ノ夕立) from the series Contest of Present-day Beauties (Tōsei bijin awase - 当世美人合)
9.75 in x 14.5 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga
Publisher: Moritaya Hanzō
(Marks 352 - seal 23-026)
Censor's seal: kiwame
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Diet Library
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna
Lyon Collection - 'A Geisha in her dressing room' - another print from this series
Lyon Collection - 'The Dance Teacher' - another print from this series The curatorial files from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston give us a better understanding of the motifs in this print:
The straw snake in the inset is a souvenir of the Fuji Festival celebrating the annual opening of Mount Fuji to pilgrims on the first day of the sixth month. Residents of Edo visited mounds representing Fuji in locations such as Asakusa or Komagome.(The straw snake amulet was meant to fend off disasters.)
Personal tastes vary enormously, but to this writer this is one of the loveliest prints in the Lyon Collection. There are many reasons I feel this way, like her pose and intent look, but also because of the design of the woman's kimono with its images of fantastical birds and turtles. (JSV)
"Ten prints from this series of half-length portraits of beauties are known. Five sheets are signed with the name Kōchōrō Kunisada... while the other five have Gototei Kunisada... His toshidama seal frames the series title cartouche and the print title is contained within a stylised 'decayed tree branch' (kuchiki) design."
Quoted from: Kunisada: imaging drama and beauty by Robert Schaap, p. 55.
Illustrated in 歌川国貞:美人画を中心に, (Utagawa Kunisada : bijinga o chūshin ni), 1996, #90, p. 58.
Moritaya Hanzō (森田屋半蔵) (publisher)
beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)