Kunichika, Mirror of the Flowering of Manners and Customs 5

Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) Mirror of the Flowering of Manners and Customs #5, 1878. Oban.

Alongside the series 36 Good and Evil Beauties this series represents Kunichika’s finest work. They chronicle the clash of styles and influence of western sensibility and traditional Japanese manners. Commentaries on modern manners are included in the large square cartouche and there often appear modern imports such as parasols and english text books as accessories. The series title Kaika Ninjo Kagami also hints at modernity, the word kaika, can also mean civilisation or enlightment; and according to Newland, even meaning Mirror of the Enlightened Mind.

In this print we observe a married woman, identified by her blackened teeth, intently reading a letter, an opium pipe at her side.

The print is full size, first edition printing with gauffrage (embossing) and burnishing. Excellent condition.

The series is described and illustrated in Amy Reigle Newland, Time Past and Time Present, Images of a Forgotten Master,  Hotei Publishing 1999.

35.5 x 24 cm.