Artist: Kitagawa Utamaro II (二代目喜多川歌麿)

Print: Famous Product: Mount Fuji White Saké
(Meibutsu fuji no shirozake - 名物富士の白酒) -
left-hand panel of a triptych

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Dates: 1807,created
Dimensions: 9.875 in,14.375 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Utamaro hitsu (哥麿筆)
Publisher: Izumiya Ichibei
(Marks 180 - seal 25-365)
Censor's seal: kiwame
Date seal: 11/1807

Related links: Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil - center panel only; Mead Art Museum, Amherst - full triptych; Adachi Museum - full triptych;

Physical description:

Is this a glorified advertisement in print form? Possibly. Yamakawa (mountain rivers - 山川) which is still the name of a distillery in Japan.

The full copy of the triptych in the collection of the Mead Art Museum at Amherst states that it is by Utamaro I who died in 1806, but even they note that the date of this composition is from late 1807. The title of this piece appears in the banner on the right-hand panel, which is not present here. They identify the male figure in the left panel, the same one as in the Lyon Collection seen here, as a tōji (杜氏) or saké brewer.

The complete triptych is in the Kitakyūshū Municipal Museum of Art, illustrated in color in Ukiyoe Museums in Japan (Nihon no ukiyoe bijutsukan - 日本の浮世絵美術館), vol. 6, pp. 84-85.


Is this a print by Utamaro or his successor Utamaro II?

Shūgō Asano in The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro wrote on pages 67-68 of the text volume: "Shortly after Utamaro's death, Koikawa Harumachi II (dates unknown) is thought to have taken the name Utamaro II. Works from 1807 onwards which bear date seals giving the year and month are obviously by Utamaro II. When works do not have these date seals, it is not always easy to separate late works by Utamaro I from early works by Utamaro II. However, it is in fact generally possible judging by: differences in style; differences in signature (including the use of subsidiary art names, go; differences in the fashions and customs depicted."

This print in the Lyon Collection clearly shows the date seal for the 11th month of 1807.(JSV)