Kunisada: Beauties with Umbrellas in Snow
Artist: Utagawa Kunisada
Title: Beauties In Snow Visiting a Shrine
Visit to the Shinto shrine of the first Rabbit day of the year. Three beauties make their way through the snow on New Year’s day, en route to a shrine for celebration there. The second one leans down to adjust her sandal; she carries a decorated branch with the likenesses of auspicious items tied to it. Their outfits have been carefully chosen with the themes of auspiciousness and the new year. The colorant in the sky of the center sheet contains white lead, which has oxidized to dark grey in places. Hatsu-u moude translates as: visit to the Shinto shrine on the first Rabbit day of the year. This was a popular custom of the Edo era, with certain specific Shinto shrines in various cities being visited, the one in Tokyo located in Kameido, originally Myougi-sha, now called Mitake-jinja within the precincts of Kameido Tenjin shrine. Regarding “rabbit day”, the rabbit is one of the 12 animals of the Chinese astrological cycle, being associated with a 12 year cycle, but also the 12 months of the year, and 12-day cycles within each month and also related to the hours of the day. During such a visit, one would obtain a “rabbit ticket”, which might be related to the prolific fertility of the rabbit connecting with prosperity for the coming year. The second portion of the title reads hou-nen no mitsugi “tribute for a prosperous year “ likely referring to a contribution to the Shrine in prayer for prosperity.
Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Minor repaired wormage in sky of one sheet.
Dimensions: ôban triptych
Publisher: Kawaguchi-ya Chozo
Signature: oju Ichiyosai Toyokuni ga