Kunisada: Hour of the Dragon and Prince Genji

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864)
Title: Prince Genji in the Hour of the Dragon
Date: 1859

Here we see Prince Genji at left, wiping his neck with a towel and being offered a bowl for rinsing by a young woman at left, and what looks like smoking accouterments by a young beauty on the right. On the right sheet we see a beauty in her dressing robe being offered a set of clothes on a lacquer tray by an attendant. It looks to be still dark in the garden. The Hour of the Dragon in the Edo Period was the hour just after sunrise, so it seems as though Genji and his friends are getting ready for the day, although the darkened garden area is a mystery. The huge success of the Rustic Genji serialized novel by Ryutei Tanehiko (published between 1829-1832) created  a craze of “Genji Pictures”, most of them designed by Kunisada. We see Genji in almost every setting, including many that were never part of either the original 12th century “Tale of Genji” or the later Rustic Genji novels.

Series: Twelve Hours with Genji (Sono yukari Juni Tokei) 
Condition: Very good impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: ôban triptych (36.7 x 76.5 cm)
Signature: Toyokuni ga