Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)


A Pictorial Commentary on One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets: no. 61, Ise no Taifu
(Hyakunin isshu esho: se no Taifu)

signed oju Ichiyosai Toyokuni ga with red Toshidama seal, censor's seal Yoshimura, followed by the publisher's seal Sanoki (Sanoya Kihei of Kikaudo), ca. 1845

oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 9 7/8 in., 36.2 by 25.2 cm

After issuing the 37th design in this series (except no. 47) of 100 poet prints, Kunisada changed the framework of the compositions by eliminating the series title and replacing the poem cards with a cartouche in the shape of an open book illustrating the featured poet and poem. Capitalizing on his recent success as illustrator of the serialized novel by Ryutei Tanehiko, Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji (A Rustic Genji by a Fraudulent Murasaki) which was published from 1829-1842, Kunisada introduced Genji-related motifs to 42 subsequent prints this series and referenced his own designs from the covers of the updated Genji. The composition of this print references the illustration on the eighth double page of part I of vol. 10.

The portrait is of Ise no Taifu, (a contemporary of Murasaki Shikibu, the author of The Tale of Genji) and the poem is number 61 from the Hyakunin isshu.

Inishihe no
nara no miyako no
kefu kokonohe ni
nihohinuru kana

The eight-petalled cherries
from the Nara capital
of the ancient past,
today nine layers thick
have bloomed within your court!

Joshua S. Mostow, The Hundred Poets Compared, 2007, p. 156, no. 61 (poem translation)
Jeff Hopewell, Kunisada 100 Poets Prints Derived from Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji Images, Kunisada.de, 2008
Andreas Marks, Genji's World in Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2021, pp. 14-15
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 50.2331
(inv. no. 10-5245)

price: $950


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