Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) A Comparison of the Ogura One Hundred Poets #3: Kaga Chiyo, 1847. Oban.
One of the very best series of Japanese prints ever produced, this collaboration by the artists Hiroshige, Kunisada and Kuniyoshi brings together the three giants of mid century ukiyo-e in one beautifully conceived and executed series.
In this lovely print Kuniyoshi has pictured the poetess Kaga Chiyo (1703-75) who wrote famous verses in the early haiku form, haiki. She wrote and studied poetry and calligraphy from the age of fifteen and became a nun in 1754. Kuniyoshi shows her beside a smoking brazier, to repel mosquitoes. She wears a robe decorated with morning glory flowers, an allusion to her most famous poem.
The poem that is illustrated is one in which she mourns the death of her husband and laments the lonely nights spent under the broad mosquito net:
Must I sleep alone
through the long autumn nights,
long like the dragging tail
of the pheasant
in the foot wearying mountains?
A fine print with good colour and excellent impression, trimmed to the image.
Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga, published by Iba-ya Sensaburo.
34cm x 22cm.