Toyokuni I: Surimono of Beauty Holding an Origami Crane (SOLD)
Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I 豊国 (1769-1825)
Title: Surimono of Beauty Holding an Origami Crane
Date: ca. 1821-22
A young woman wearing a bamboo-patterned winter cloak holds a pair of scissors with paper in one hand, and with the other hand she holds a folded white origami paper crane. A young girl kneels with a lacquer tray to receive the paper crane, perhaps to present as a decoration for the new year. The room has a beautiful view of a garden with a blooming plum tree and stone lantern. There is blindprinting in the white crane as well as in numerous other areas of the work. The poems are cleverly integrated into the composition in three elements of the setting, and John Carpenter has translated them. The first poem, by Shinratei Manzo II (1762-1831) reads: “Friends who pay a visit/ in the auspicious New Year/ are like a lush forest,/ and now three trees are here, lined up as in a grove”. The black document box has been decorated with the Manji (reverse swastika) design, which was an emblem of the poetry club which was headed by Manzo. The second and third poems, which are shown on a vertical wood panel and on a framed plaque over the window, were translated as follows: “In the gentle light/ of the first day of the year/ the soughing breezes,/ cause the folded paper crane/ to rise up in a dance” (Shinrintei Kimori). “A crane has been formed/ by the gentle hands/ of the newborn spring/ to bring prosperity/ for a thousand generations.” (Shinsuitei Umaki). This example has much better color than the one shown in the Carpenter book. Surimono by Toyokuni are very scarce.
Condition: Excellent color and impression; very good condition. Some creases, minor rubbing and backing remnants, verso.
Dimensions: shikishiban (20.5 x 18 cm)
Signature: Toyokuni ga
Literature: Described in John Carpenter’s “Reading Surimono” (2008), plate 287, page 407.