Kunisada: Beauty and Ningyo (Japanese Dolls) for Hinamatsuri

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Title: Beauty and Ningyo Hinamatsuri Dolls
Series: One Hundred Beautiful Women at Famous Places in Edo 江戸名所百人美女 Edo Meisho Hyakunin Bijyo:
Date: 1858

A beauty crouches to admire two hina dolls of the emperor and empress, which would usually be purchased by women for display during the hinamatsuri doll festival on March 3. In the cartouche we see the outside of a shopping street titled “Ten Doll Stores “ (Jukkendana), so we may guess that she is visiting one of these stores and asking the shopkeeper about a golden headdress for a doll that she holds up in her left hand in a gesture of inquiry.  Even today there is a district in Tokyo called “Ningyocho”, or the area where the dollmaker craftspeople lived and worked. These elaborate display dolls were an art form in themselves and have a very long history in Japan.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Minor nick at upper right and a few very minor wrinkles. Untrimmed and unbacked.
Dimensions: ôban (37.8 x 25.2 cm)
Signature: Toyokuni ga