Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) (artist 01/01/1797 – 04/14/1861)
The Ide Jewel River in Yamashiro Province (Yamashiro no kuni Ide no Tamagawa - 山城国井出の玉川) from an untitled triptych series of Six Jewel Rivers (Mu Tamagawa - 六玉川)
1847 – 1848
30 in x 14 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese color woodblock print
Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: kiri
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei (Marks 446 seal 25-210)
Censors' seals: Hama and Kinugasa
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Tokyo Metropolitan Library
Chazen Museum of Art - left panel only
Rijksmuseum - right panel
Rijksmuseum - middle panel
Rijksmuseum - left panel
National Museums Scotland - right panel
National Museums Scotland - middle panel
National Museums Scotland - left panel
Muzeum Sztuki i Techniki Japońskiej Manggha, Krakow
Art Institute of Chicago - left panel only
Van Gogh Museum - left-hand panel only "Three beautiful women are enjoying an outing along the Ide river: one woman stands on the bank assisting her companion whilst a third becons her. Kuniyoshi's triptych which is titled in the upper right Yamashiro kuni Ide no Tamagawa (The Jewel river, Ide, of Yamashiro province), is from an untitled set based on the classical theme of the Six Jewel or Crystal rivers (Mu Tamagawa). The 'Six Jewel' rivers were situated in different provinces - Mishima in Settsu; Noji in Ōji; Kōya in Kii; Chōfu in Musashi; and the Noda in Mutsu - and were celebrated in classical verse for their beauty. The Ide, located in Yamashiro province (part of present-day Kyoto prefecture), is well known from the verse by Fujiwara Toshiyori (1124-1204):
nao mizu kawamu
hana no tsuyu
Ide no Tamagawa
Halting my pony
at the Ide Crystal river
let him drink -
for its water is sweetened
with the dew of the kerria flowers
Kuniyoshi makes reference to Toshiyori's verse with the inclusion of a flowering yamabuki (Lat: kerria japonica) bush behind the women, but has translated this otherwise classical subject into a contemporaneous scene of Edo women dressed in the height of fashion on an afternoon outing."
Quoted from: Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi 1797-1861 by Robert Schaap, p. 139.
1) in color in in Kuniyoshi by Jūzō Suzuki, Heibonsha Limited, Publishers, 1992, no. 265.
2) the left-hand panel only in color in the Catalogue of the Van Gogh Museum's Collection of Japanese Prints by Charlotte van Rappard-Boon, Willem van Gulik and Keiko van Bremen-Ito, 1991, p. 244, #343.
3) in color in Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi 1797-1861 by Robert Schaap, Hotei Publishing, 1998, p. 139, #144.
The curatorial files at the Metropolitan Museum say of this theme: "The theme of six beautiful rivers, each associated with a flower and a classical court poem, enjoyed great popularity in the late Edo period, especially among ukiyo-e printmakers. Mountain roses (yamabuki) are associated with the Ide Tamagawa, near Kyoto."
It isn't immediately obvious, but there is a small frog swimming in the water in the right-hand panel.
Sanoya Kihei (佐野屋喜兵衛) (publisher)
beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)
landscape prints (fūkeiga 風景画) (genre)
mitate-e (見立て絵) (genre)