Kotondo 鳥居言人: Morning Hair 朝寝髪 (Asanegami) (Reserved)

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Artist: Torii Kotondo (1900-1976)
Title: Morning Hair 朝寝髪 (Asanegami)

Date: Ca. 1930

Intimate portrait of a young woman who has just woken up and is alone with her thoughts; presumably they turn towards her absent lover. The mosquito net that forms the background indicates that it is summer, and her tousled hair and separated comb indicate that she has just woken up, following a night spent with her lover. The title “asanegami” literally translates  as “hair (kami) of a late riser (asane)”. The term appears in Japanese poetry as early as the 8th century anthology Manyôshû, “Collection of Ten-thousand Leaves”. Although tastefully suggestive to the modern viewer, the early Showa-period authorities found this work so salacious that they confiscated the publisher’s remaining stock of 30 published prints, leading to the extraordinary rarity of this design, as only 70 were ever sold. The blocks were carved by Maeda Kentaro, considered to be a master carver of his generation. This work is considered one of the masterpieces of shin hanga, as well as Kotondo’s finest design. Chosen as the cover image for the important 1993 book on the Muller Collection, “The new wave”. 

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Publisher: Ikeda
Literature: See “The new wave”, cover and number 268, page 202. See The Toledo Museum of Art (1936), number 133. See the Art Institute of Chicago
Signature: Kotondo ga
Size: 48.2 x 29.8 cm