Kuniyoshi: Beauties Enjoying The Crystal River of Bush Clover in Ômi Province 近江国 萩の玉川 (SOLD)

  • Sold.

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi 国芳 (1797-1861)
Title: Beauties Enjoying The Crystal River of Bush Clover in Ômi Province (Ômi no kuni Hagi no Tamagawa, 近江国 萩の玉川)
Date: 1847-48

Three women enjoy a late-summer evening excursion along the Noji river, their colorful kimonos contrasting elegantly with the impending dusk. This Crystal River is also called the Hagi, as it is so strongly associated with bush clover (hagi), also called Lespedeza. Here the beauty at right holds a lantern as well as what might be a cage to hold fireflies, walking towards her companions, her purple kimono sleeves swaying in the breeze. The woman in the center crouches to pick a branch of the bush clover, perhaps to place in the cage for the fireflies. Bush clover blooms in late summer/early autumn, and here we see their distinctively-shaped green leaves as dark grey and the blossoms as white puffs along the stems. This series of bijin-ga triptychs represent some of Kuniyoshi’s finest designs in the genre.

There is a famous poem by the Heian poet Minamoto no Toshiyori that references the hagi flowers on this Crystal River as well as the reflected moon, so Kuniyoshi has picked an evening scene also to echo this famous association.

The 'Six Crystal Rivers' (Mu-Tamagawa) were: Ide (Hagi) no Tamagawa in Yamashiro; Mishima (Tôi or Kinuta) no Tamagawa in Settsu; Noji no Tamagawa in Omi; Kôya no Tamagawa in Kii; Chôfu no Tamagawa in Musashi and Noda (Chidori) no Tamagawa in Mutsu .

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Some minor surface wrinkles. Unbacked.
Dimensions: 37.2 x 73.5 cm
Publisher: Sano-ya Kiheii
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga