Utagawa Toyokuni I (初代歌川豊国) (artist 1769 – 02/24/1825)

A mitate of Komachi with an umbrella praying for rain (Amagoi Komachi - 雨こひ小まち) from the series Modern Girls as the Seven Komachi (Imayō musume Nana Komachi - 今やう娘七小町)

Print


ca 1812
9.5 in x 14.5 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Yamatoya Jūbei (Marks 607 - seal 21-074)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Parrot Komachi from this series
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Gravepost Komachi from this series
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Visiting Komachi from this series
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Komachi at Kiyomizu Temple from this series
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Komachi washing the manuscript from this series
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Komachi at Sekidera from this series

In our opinion, this is truly one of the most elegant prints in the Lyon Collection. (JSV)

****

There is a tradition in Japanese printmaking of representing 7 scenes linked to Ono no Komachi's life and poetry. Numerous artists from Harunobu, Koryūsai and Utamaro to Toyokuni I and his pupils Kunisada and Kuniyoshi created images along this line. They often paired elegant contemporary women with an event that happened in the life of this 9th century poetess.

The Amagoi Komachi portrays the scene where she prays for rain. Allen Hockley relates that "Komachi received a request from the emperor to compose a poem in order to relieve a prolonged drought. After performing observances at a temple, she cast the paper slip on which she had written her poem into the temple pond. Immediately it began to rain."

This 7 Komachi series is listed in Marks as P0481 under 607 - Yamatoya Jūbei. All of the examples from this series in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston are listed as having an "Unidentified publisher's mark." The exact mark on this print is not shown in Marks, but is closest to one of those used by Yamatoya Jūbei.

****

Illustrated in 1) Il Mondo di Eizan, in a small black and white illustration of this print, fig. 10, page 21, 1992.

Also in color in 2) 原色浮世絵大百科事典 (Genshoku Ukiyoe Daihyakka Jiten), vol. 1, p. 70.

Toyokuni I was the only know artists published by Yamatoya Jūbei.

****

There is also another copy of this print in the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden.
beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)
Yamatoya Jūbei (大和屋重兵衛) (publisher)
mitate-e (見立て絵) (genre)