Re: Utamaro?

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Posted by Alec W. ( on September 19, 2022 at 18:59:44:

In Reply to: Utamaro? posted by Preben on September 07, 2022 at 10:56:03:

This is a hard one!

The signature is certainly "Utamaro hitsu" 哥麿筆, but as you note that doesn't help us know whether it's Utamaro I or II.

There is a publisher seal (Marks 05-001) for Yamaguchiya Chūsuke, so I think it's clear this was produced as a sheet print, not part of a book. I agree it must have been part of a multi-sheet composition of some sort.

The title appears to start with "Niwaka" 仁和嘉, as in the annual festival in the Yoshiwara. I think the last kanji is 組? Maybe "仁和嘉さいx組"?

The theme seems odd given the title -- most designs with "niwaka" in the name show scenes of festivity, not warrior scenes. But I suspect the "warriors" are actually Yoshiwara denizens staging a festival performance? Indeed, here is a design by Kiyonaga that appears to be on the exact same theme:

Unfortunately I don't find this design any more intelligible than the Utamaro one.

Finally, here is a sheet from a different Utamaro Niwaka polyptych featuring a boat:

This one doesn't seem to feature the same martial theme, but perhaps it is also related?


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