Kitagawa Utamaro


Customs of the Twelve Months with Kyoka: Fourth Month

signed Utamaro ga with kao seal in shape of a Daruma doll ('Uta' in a circle, 'maru'), and Waka publisher seal (Wakasaya Yoichi of Jakurindo), ca. 1790-91

chuban tate-e 9 1/2 by 6 3/4 in., 24.2 by 17.2 cm

From an untitled series depicting scenes from festivities throughout the year. On the 8th day of the 4th month the Buddha's birthday is celebrated with the ceremony of Kanbutsu-e (washing the Buddha statue). Here a man has brought a woman holding a baby a small model of a temple of a type presented during the ceremony. The model shelters an image of the Buddha (Shaka) as an infant pointing up to Heaven with one hand and down to earth with the other while the baby mimics the gestures. Hence the kyoka poem by Yukari no Satozumi:

The cuckoo
Pointed to by Shaka
On his birthday
Did it call in the heavens?
Did it come out of the ground?

Shugo Asano and Timothy Clark, The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro, 1995, no. 90, text, p. 113
Gina Collia-Suzuki, The Complete Woodblock Prints of Kitagawa Utamaro, A Descriptive Catalogue, 2009, p. 296

price: $900


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
August 14, 2022

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