Kunisada II

Utagawa Kunisada II


Modern Way of Military Commands
(Shinshiki goreishi)

complete set of twelve deluxe prints with original fukuro attributed to Utagawa Kunisada II; the wrapper decorated with a military hat revealing a 'memory' of women; each print bears a cartouche with a military command accompanied by a rebus for the title: sonoba niyasune (halt), sasage tsutsu (present arms), nina-e tsutsu (right shoulder arms), katata tsutsu (rifle on shoulder), tsuki tsuke (thrust at), ute kakan (shoot bravely), uchikata yane (hold fire), ato-e sagare (fall back), koure tsutsune (wrap this), hirake hiyago, and shotai, ca. 1860s

fukuro 7 3/4 by 4 3/8 in., 19.8 by 11.2 cm (folded)

This curious set demonstrates the myriad of themes which could be utilized for a shunga series. In this case, the title cartouches have a rebus for a military drill command (i.e. fall in, attention, present arms, right face, left face, ready, aim, fire, at ease, etc.). Although firearms were introduced to Japan as early as the 13th century, they were largely abandoned when Japan closed to outside traders in the late 16th century). They were re-introduced when Japan opened to the West in 1854, and by the 1860s Japanese soldiers were equipped with guns and rifles.

Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 60

price: $4,000

Utagawa Kunisada II


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Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
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site last updated
September 28, 2022

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475