Kotondo 鳥居言人: Applying Powder (Kesho) 化粧

Torii Kotondo

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Artist: Torii Kotondo
Title: Applying Powder (Kesho) 化粧
Date: 1929

A beauty in profile has lowered her robe to smooth powder onto her neck and shoulders, her expression focused yet relaxed in thought. Her white skin with pink accents glows against the deep blue background, her hair in a loose chignon. We feel almost as a voyeur of an intimate moment, yet she is charmingly unaffected. The rich texture of the background has been accomplished with the baren sujizuri technique, and thus the swirling patterns and depth of hue are unique to each print. This example is completely unfaded, with the pink of the face and hands perfectly preserved. The title “Kesho” is embossed in the lower margin. Selected as the cover image for the important reference book “The female image: 20th century prints of Japanese beauties” (Abe and Hotei Publishing, 2000). This is the first print designed by Kotondo for the publishers Kawaguchi and Sakai; he eventually completed five more for the joint publishers in the same year. Numbered 90 from the first limited edition of 200 prints that were intended for export; contains this  paper seal, verso.  The date reads “Showa yonen roku gatsu” (Made in Showa 4, sixth month.) The blocks were carved by Ito and printed by Komatsu Wasakichi.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: 46.5 x 29.7 cm
Publisher: Kawaguchi and Sakai
Literature: The Female Image, page 125, number 167. “Seven Masters”, fig. 3, page 187. Reigle Newland, Amy, editor, The new wave: Twentieth-century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, 1993, page 198, number 262.
Signature: Kotondo ga  Seal: Kotondo


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