Kuniyoshi: Bride Changing Clothes for her Wedding Ceremony (Konrei) 婚禮

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)
Title: Wedding Ceremony (Konrei) 婚禮
Date: ca. 1843

Three women help a bride from a prosperous family prepare for the next portion of her wedding ceremony. This is Iro-naoshi, the ritual of changing into a colorful kimono for the wedding banquet. This follows the the white kimono that is worn for the sacred Shinto ceremony portion of the wedding. At right a beauty holds up an embroidered uchikake, a bridal gown with a thick padded hem, while the woman wearing black in the center helps to remove the pink/white gown. The bride’s hair has been festively decorated with ornaments. The woman at left holds a mirror that she is polishing, holding it with with her sleeves on her hands so as not to smudge the metal. Containers sit in the background, two kai-oke, which contain painted shells for a game, kai-awase– these are an important part of a wedding trousseau for upper class women. The text at top is by Ryûkate Tanekazu, an author whose subjects are often educational. Here, of course, he is writing about the wedding. His writing in part reads: Influenced by the customs of Chinese Tang Period the meaning of marriage lies not only in enriching wealth but more in making children...

Then he seems to continue to the procedure of  the banquet, which should follow shiki-sanken式三献”, meaning san-san-ku-do  (three-three-nine times, direct translation), the way in which the ceremonial sake at the wedding is served: the bride and bride groom take three cups of sake each, with this the two are finally bound. He also mentions san-ba-soo三番叟” reciting and dancing of festive noh Okina.      

At the end he writes a poem: “Putting a white head cover on her head, she is a white peony in snow” (booshi kita, sugataya, yuki no shiro-botan). (Partial translation by Michiko Sato-Grube)

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Creases near margins and a few minor stains. .
Dimensions: ôban triptych (36 x 75 cm)
Publisher: Joshuya Kinzo
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga and Chô-ô-rô Kuniyoshi ga