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Utagawa Kuniyoshi – Hatsuhana

$950.00

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SKU: MLS2022201 Category: Tags: ,

An absolutely iconic woodblock by Kuniyoshi, this is a scene from the story of Hatsuhana.

Hatsuhana (初花), the devoted wife of Iinuma Katsugoro (飯沼勝五郎), prays to the deity Hakone Gongen (箱根権現) under a sacred waterfall hoping to cure her husband so that he can avenge the murder of his brother by his enemy Sato Gosuke (佐藤郷助). There are two versions of this story; in one version of the story, Hatsuhana will die after a hundred days of such penance; in another, it is her ghost that is seen praying after she was beheaded by Sato Gosuke.

The Woodblock Print

This oban-sized woodblock is in poor/fair condition for its age; it is unbacked and has very good color. There are some fold/creases and small wear holes within the print, and visible edge wear, soiling, and creases. A rare piece in any condition, this print is still striking even with the condition issues.

About the Artist

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川 国芳, 1798-1861) was born into the Igusa family in Edo as the son of silk dyer. Little is known about his very early years; Kuniyoshi began his ukiyo-e career as a pupil of Shunei. At age 14 he was accepted to study the art of woodblock printing under Toyokuni I and would become one of his most successful students. In 1814 he left Toyokuni’s studio to pursue a career as an independent Japanese ukiyo-e artist.

Initially he had little success, selling tatami mats in order to support himself. His fortunes changed in 1827 with his dramatic series “108 Heroes of the Suikoden”. From that point on the public sought out his portrayals of famous samurai and legendary heroes. Kuniyoshi worked in all genres, producing some brilliant landscapes and charming bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women). He died in the spring of 1861 from complications of a stroke.

Artist

Kuniyoshi, Utagawa

Condition

(C) Fair Condition, (D) Poor Condition

Date

1840s-1860s

Edition

Lifetime

Movement

Ukiyo-e

Publisher

Ibaya Sensaburo

Size

Oban (10"x15")

Subjects

River / Lake / Ocean, Story, Women / Geisha

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