C1852

Chapter 5 : Wakamurasaki

Early woodblock illustrating Chapter 5, Wakamurasaki by Utagawa Kunisada from the series, Wakamurasaki Genji-e awase (Humorous Genji pictures) In Chapter 5 of the Tales of Genji titles, Waka Murasaki, Genji is sick and decides to seek help from a holy … Read Full Description

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S/N: JWB-006-KUNIS–195601
(C116)
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Details

Full Title:

Chapter 5 : Wakamurasaki

Date:

C1852

Condition:

Slight creasing at top right, otherwise in good condition.

Technique:

Woodblock
AUTHENTICITY
Chapter 5 : Wakamurasaki - Antique Print from 1852

Genuine antique
dated:

1852

Description:

Early woodblock illustrating Chapter 5, Wakamurasaki by Utagawa Kunisada from the series, Wakamurasaki Genji-e awase (Humorous Genji pictures)

In Chapter 5 of the Tales of Genji titles, Waka Murasaki, Genji is sick and decides to seek help from a holy man living in a cave in the northern hills. He goes there and receives treatment from the recluse. While recovering, his attendants tell him the story of a Governor of Akashi who became a lay priest and retired there with his daughter, for whom he had great expectations. During his convalesence in the hills, Genji wanders to a nearby house and catches a glimse of a beautiful 10-year-old girl, who reminds him of Fujitsubo, the favourite concubine of his father, the emperor. The priest at the villa invites Genji to visit, during the course of which he discovers that the child Murasaki is in fact Fujitsubo’s niece. Genji – already smitten with Fujitsubo – seeks to adopt the child but is not taken seriously. When fully recovered from his illness, Genji asks again about adopting Murasaki, but is again refused. To-no-Chujo and some friends from court arrive to escort him back. Back at court, Genji’s father-in-law arrives and takes him to meet Aoi, who turns out to be cold and unreceptive. Genji sleeps and dreams of the little girl. The next day he renews his request to adopt Murasaki, this time by letter, but without success. Fujitsubo leaves court due to an illness and, through her maid Omyobu, Genji arranges a secret visit and stays the night. Fujitsubo becomes pregnant, but the emperor is unaware of Genji’s role in this. Meanwhile, the little girl is made available for adoption because her grandmother, the nun, has died. However, Murasaki’s father, Prince Hyobu, decides to take charge of her and Genji is forced to kidnap her before he does so. Back at his Nijo palace, Genji begins her education.

Utagawa Kunisada Toyokuni III (1786 - 1865)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) (1786-1864) Toyokuni was the most popular, prolific and financially successful designer of ukiyo-e woodblock prints in 19th-century Japan. In his day, his reputation far exceeded that of his contemporaries, Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi. His family owned a small licensed ferry-boat service and the income derived from this business provided a basic financial security. His father died the year after he was born. While growing up, he developed an early talent for painting and drawing. His early sketches at that time impressed Toyokuni, the great master of the Utagawa school and prominent designer of kabuki and actor-portrait prints. In the year 1800 or shortly thereafter Kunisada was accepted by Toyokuni I as an apprentice. In keeping with a tradition of Japanese master-apprentice relations, he was then given the official artist name of "Kuni-sada", the first character of which was derived from the second part of the name "Toyo-Kuni". Beginning around 1810 Kunisada used the studio name "Gototei", which refers to his father's ferry-boat business. Until 1842 this signature appeared on nearly all of his kabuki designs. Around 1825 the studio name "Kochoro" appeared, and was often used on prints not related to kabuki. This name was derived from a combination of the pseudonyms of master painter Hanabusa Itcho, and that of his successor Hanabusa Ikkei, with whom Kunisada had studied a new style of painting around 1824–1825. In 1844, he finally adopted the name of his master Toyokuni I, and for a brief time used the signature "Kunisada becoming Toyokuni II". Starting in 1844–1845, all of his prints are signed "Toyokuni", partially with the addition of other studio names as prefixes, such as "Kochoro" and "Ichiyosai". Although Kunisada referred to himself as "Toyokuni II", he must be regarded as "Toyokuni III".

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