Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)


Preparatory Drawing and Print of 'A Collection of Modern Beauties: Teahouse Waitress'
(Tosei bijin awase: Mizuchaya no onna)

a woman assembling a washi ningyo doll while seated at a tea stall; preparatory drawing with sumi ink on paper and notations regarding colors, conserved on archival paper; the print signed Gototei Kunisada ga, with publisher's seal Sen ichi (Izumiya Ichibei of Kansendo), and the series title, Tosei bijin awase within the artist's Toshidama shaped cartouche, ca. 1830

drawing 15 3/4 by 11 in., 40.1 by 27.8 cm
oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 9 1/2 in., 36.6 by 24.2 c

The drawing appears to be a near-final version of the composition with very detailed instructions for the carver and printer on how the coloration should be addressed. These details would not be given if the design were not yet approved for production. While the absolute final version of the design, the hanshita, would be destroyed in the normal process of carving the keyblock, drawings of this type would have been helpful to keep on hand during the production process, particularly for the printer, to ensure that the artist's intentions were followed.

This print is from a relatively obscure Kunisada series which Schaap dates to circa 1830 for which he recorded only five designs and illustrates a different design illustrating a teahouse waitress stretching by a stove (also found on ukiyo-e.org with an earlier circa date of 1823).

Robert Schaap, Kunisada: Imaging Drama and Beauty, 2016, Checklist I, p. 160, no. 69 (same series)
Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University (www.arc.ritsumei.ac.jp), accession no. Z0172-293

(inv. no. 10-2691)

price: Sold


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