Utagawa Kunisada II – Kagaribi, No. 27 from the series Lady Murasaki’s Genji Cards

Out of stock

Additional information

Artist

Kunisada II, Utagawa

Condition

(A+) Excellent Condition

Date

1840s-1860s

Movement

Ukiyo-e

Publisher

Tsutaya Kichizo

Size

Oban (10"x15")

Subjects

Night, People, Story

The Tale of Genji is thought to be the world’s oldest novel. It was written by Murasaki Shikibu, a woman from the Heian period (11th century Japan), and chronicles the life and romances of Prince Genji.

This series, Murasaki Shikibu Genji Karuta, is considered to be the best works by Kunisada II. The series was designed and printed around 1857. The publisher Tsutaya Kichizo used the highest quality papers and inks for this special Genji series. Each print is identified by the “Genji mon” and title that are located in a unique cartouche in the shape of an opened clamshell, and each scene is surrounded by a beautiful speckled gold-coloured margin, meant to suggest the gold-flecked papers of the Heian Period.

This print shows Prince Genji with one of his lovers beside a stream. A torch burns at the banks, as the woman tugs on Genji’s sleeve.

The Woodblock Print

This print is in excellent condition; intact margins, rich colors, no discoloration to be seen. The verso is clean. No fading or toning at all.

About the Artist

Utagawa Kunisada II (歌川国貞, 1823 – 20 July 1880) was a Japanese ukiyo-e print designer, one of three to take the name “Utagawa Kunisada”, and later headed the Utagawa school. A pupil of Utagawa Kunisada I, he signed much of his early work “Kunimasa III” with his earliest known prints date to 1844. Kunisada I adopted him in 1846 after he married the master’s daughter Osuzu. He took the name Kunisada II c. 1850–51, about the time he inherited the house of Kunisada I. He changed his name once more following his master’s death, to Toyokuni III. However, since there were three artists called Toyokuni before him, Kunisada II is now often known as Toyokuni IV.

Kunisada II worked in the style of his master, but never achieved the same level of success. His prints include over 40 series, mostly of actors (yakusha-e), as well portraits of beauties, illustrations of scenes from literature, erotica, and other subjects. He illustrated nearly 200 books.