Utamaro: Benigirai-e Picture with a kyôka Poem

Utamaro: Benigirai-e Picture with a kyôka Poem (Sold)

Kitagawa Utamaro

  • Sold.

Artist: Kitagawa Utamaro
Title: Benigirai-e Picture with a kyôka Poem
Series: “Genre Scenes with Kyoka Poems in Aiban Format”
Date: 1788-90

A gentleman guest of a pleasure house is gazing with enchantment at a courtesan holding a mirror. Behind her another beauty holds a kanzashi hair pin and comb, helping in the final steps of her beauty routine. A young one kneels nearby, hairpins in her hands. The focus of everyone is the beauty of the courtesan, which is again intensified by her holding a mirror to gaze at herself. From this series in benigirai-e (“crimson-avoiding pictures”), eight designs are known. Prints done in benigirai-e style avoid the use of beni, or red, and are done in cooler shades of blues, purples and greens. It was a very short-lived style at the end of the 1780s. The color in this design is remarkably unfaded. This love poem is written by Ichi Keiju and starts with “Yomo sugara....” Other pictures have kyôka poems starting: “aoyagi no...”,”midasaba...,” “yomo sugara...,” “wasurunimo...,” “kono yo kara...,” “Yagenbori.....,” “atahitono.....,” and “tamasareshi.”

Dimensions: aiban
Publisher: Tsutaya Jûzaburô
Literature: for other prints in the series see ills # 43 & 44 P.95 “Kitagawa Utamaro” Chiba City Museum
Seal: Seal of Hayashi Tadamasa on top right.
Signature: Utamaro ga