Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
'Edo Flowers Travelling as far as the Islands' (Shima kakete hana no Edo tabi - 嶋もうで花の江戸旅)
29.72 in x 14.57 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese color woodblock print
Signature: Kunisada aratame nidaime Toyokuni ga (Kunisada changing his name to Toyokuni II drew this picture)
Publisher: Sa (Marks U258 - seal 17-002)
Censor's seal: Tanaka
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna - left panel
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna - center panel
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna - right panel
Victoria and Albert Museum The blue and white cloth wrapped around the head of the woman in the center panel is decorated with the toshidama, the crest used as a personal seal for Kunisada and other members of the Utagawa group. There is another triptych by Toyokuni III of three women visiting the beach at Enoshima in the Ritsumeikan University collection. In that one too, a beautiful woman is wearing a protective head cloth decorated with the same blue on white toshidama design, but arranged somewhat differently. That triptych dates from about the same time as the one in the Lyon Collection, but has a different publisher.
The woman on the right is bent over retying her right sandal. She is holding on to her blue and white cloth with her teeth to keep it from blowing away in the wind. The cloths were used to protect women's elaborate hairdos. Workmen also used them to tie around their heads to keep the sweat out of their eyes.
Illustrated in color in 'When two Utagawa masters get together. The artistic relationship between Hiroshige and Kunisada' by Andreas Marks in Andon 84, November 2008, p. 38.
Marks wrote on page 37: "After 1838 and the commercial failure of the Chūban Actors, Kunisada stopped 'borrowing' Hiroshige's Hōeidō landscapes for his own series. Years later he returned to them in some independent, non-serialized prints and again, consistently, in serialized prints.
Hiroshige's Hōeidō Tōkaidō landscapes appear for the first time again in Kunisada's works from the mid 1840s. In 1844, six years after the Chūban Actors, Kunisada designed an ōban-size triptych titled Edo's Flowers Travelling as far as the Islands (Shima kakete hana no Edo tabi). As seen in figure 9, each sheet depicts a travelling beauty, and the entire composition has Hiroshige's interpretation of Kawasaki from the Hōeidō Tōkaidō as a background landscape... Stylistically similar to the Chūban bijin, the beauties in the foreground are separated from the landscape background by a cloud device. Shortly afterwards, in about 1845/46, Kunisada placed Hara from the Hōeidō Tōkaidō on a fan in the hands of a beauty, portrayed in the series An Order of Woven Modern Stripes (Atsurae ori tōsei jima)."
beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)