Utagawa Toyokuni II (二代目歌川豊国) (artist 1777 – 1835)
The Ram (Hitsuji - 未) from the series Elegant Women Likened to the Twelve Animals of the Zodiac (Fūryū azuma-sugata jūnishi - 風流東姿十二支) - the eighth sign
10 in x 14.75 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Gosotei Toyokuni ga
Artist's seal: toshidama (in red)
Inset signed: Kunihisa-jo ga
Publisher: Izumiya Ichibei (Marks 180 - seal 25-363)
Censor's seal: kiwame
Ritsumeikan University - black and white only
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna
Lyon Collection - another print from this series, the dragon
Lyon Collection - another print from this series, the horse
Lyon Collection - another print from this series, the hare There are four prints from this elegant series in the Lyon Collection. The others include women paired with the Zodiac signs for the dragon, the horse and the hare. One of the nicer touches is the fact that the title of this series is spelled out in the three toshidama cartouches grouped near the top of each print. Of course, the toshidama is a motif element adopted by many of the members of the Utagawa artists. A symbol of success and wealth, if not of the monetary kind then at least of the artistic or spiritual kind.
The woman has blackened her teeth as was the fashion of her day.
The Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna gives the reading of the name of the artist on the inset above as (Utagawa) Kunikume - 歌川國久女.
Izumiya Ichibei (和泉屋市兵衛) (publisher)
mitate-e (見立て絵) (genre)
beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)
Jūnishi (十二支 - 12 signs of the Zodiac) (genre)