Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)

The Ninth Month (Nagatsuki - 長月) from the series The Twelve Months (Jūnika tsuki no uchi - 十二ヶ月のうち)

Print


1851
10 in x 14 in (Overall dimensions) color woodblock print

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Minatoya Kohei (Marks 332 - seal 24-074)
Censor seals: Mera and Watanabe
Ukiyoe ni kiku
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Oriental Art, Venice (via Ritsumeikan University)

This print appears to be a mitate of the momijigari (紅葉狩) in which Taira no Koremori encounters the demoness of Mount Togakuchi. Notice that the female figure is actually wearing a noh theater mask which masks her true hideousness.

Robert Schaap in Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi 1797-1861 on page 114 wrote: "Taira Koremochi... is dispatched by secret imperial order to Mount Togakuchi to find the female demon, Kijo. On the way he meets a beautiful woman who invites him to join her maple-viewing party. He joins in; before before long and after too much sake he falls into a deep sleep. The mountain god reveals to him in a dream that the woman is in fact Kijo in disguise. He wakes up suddenly as the female demon approaches him in her true form. Springing to his feet, he unsheathes his sword and kills her."

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Traditionally, "Nagatsuki" referred to the 9th month of the calendar year as "The Long Month."

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Illustrated in a small black and white reproductions in the Illustrated Catalogues of Tokyo National Museum: Ukiyo-e Prints (3), #2833. (This print is not illustrated online at the TNM web site.)
Minatoya Kohei (湊屋小兵衛) (publisher)
Genji related prints (Genji-e - 源氏絵) (genre)