Kunichika Toyohara, Relaxed Summer Day at a Waterfall, Tattoo Design

£2900
SKU
JG051903
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Artist: Kunichika Toyohara (1835-1900)
Title: Wakate Zoroi Ouji no Kuwadate
Publisher: Yorozuya Zentaro
Date: 1864
Size: (L) 25.5 x 37.3 (C) 25.4 x 37.3 (R) 25.4 x 37.2 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

One of the last great masters of ukiyo-e, Kunichika was inspired by the plays, actors and customs of kabuki theatre. His colourful prints are records of a long lost, decadent underworld of Edo. In this series of prints, kabuki actors display their tattoos while bathing next to a waterfall. Their patterns are original Japanese irezumi motifs. Side by side, the image depicts a relaxed moment during a pilgrimage, stopping near a waterfall to cool down on a hot summer day. On the left-hand side, scattered sake cups suggest a picnic. The characters wear yukata, the traditional garment worn during this season.

Kunichika Toyohara (1835 - 1900)


One of the last great masters of ukiyo-e, Kunichika was inspired by the plays, actors and customs of kabuki theatre. His colourful prints are records of a long lost, decadent underworld of Edo. As a young man, he studied with the ukiyo-e artist Chikanobu, from whom he received his artist name. He then apprenticed under Kunisada and began to produce actor prints in the Utagawa style, though he never used the Utagawa name. Unlike most artists of the period, he made use of strong reds and dark purples, often as background colours, rather than the softer colours that had previously been used. These new colours were made of aniline dyes imported in the Meiji period from Germany. When portraying people he only occasionally showed figures wearing Western dress, despite its growing popularity in Japan. He is also one of the best known artists to have designed a great number of prints featuring tattoos, a genre made popular earlier in Edo period by Kuniyoshi Utagawa.

More Information
Print FormatTriptych
ArtistKunichika Toyohara (1835 - 1900)
SubjectKabuki Theatre, Tattoo Design
Size(L) 25.5 x 37.3 (C) 25.4 x 37.3 (R) 25.4 x 37.2 cm
Condition ReportWear on edges and corners, restored wormholes, light spots.