Triptychs of beautiful women,

Part I


Please see Untitled set of triptychs of the six crystal rivers and Feminine Pleasures of the Four Seasons for other example of this genre.á Unless otherwise noted, the individual sheets of these triptychs are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ˘ban.á I am grateful to Ward Pieters for assisting with this section.

Title: Flowers of Edo (Edo no hana, 江戸の花源門之夕暮)

Description: Evening scene at a brothel in Edo, with woman being massaged by a blind man (left)

Date: 11th month of 1860

Publisher: J˘shű-ya Kinz˘

A partially recut edition of the above design with a child in the left sheet replacing the adult man

Series: Pleasures of the Four Seasons (Shiki yűkan, 四季遊観)

Robinson: Not listed

Title: Summer (Natsu, ), Evening Cool between Bridge Piers (Hashima no suzumi, 橋留の涼み)

Description: Three bijin in boat under Ryogoku Bridge on the Sumida River

Date: 1843-1847

Publisher: Ibaya Senzabur˘

Another state of the above print

Series: Pleasures of the Four Seasons (Shiki yűkan, 四季遊観)

Robinson: Not listed

Title: Autumn

Description: Catching Fireflies in the Cool of the Evening (Suzumi no hotaru)

Date: 1843-1847

Publisher: Ibaya Senzabur˘

Another state of the above print

Series: The Four Seasons (四季之, Shiki no uchi)

Robinson: 130

Title: Spring Amusements at the Honorable Lower Palace (Go-shita-yashiki haru no asobi)

Description: Ladies among the cherry blossoms in the palace garden, with two on a bench (left), three looking at them (centre), and one leaning on a tree (right)

Date: 1849-1852 (censors Hama and Magome)

Publisher: Hamada-ya Tokubei

I am grateful to Silvana Bareggi of the Galleria Stanza del Borgo for this alternate state of the above design.

Title: Gathering Plants in the Palace Garden (Oku niwa no tsumigusa)

Description: Seven beautiful women picking flowers

Date: 1847-52

Publisher: Fujioka-ya Keijir˘

Another state of the above design

Title: Picture of a Wedding Ceremony (Konrei no zu)

Description: The bride is being helped out of a lacquered palanquin for the marriage ceremony

Date: 1847-50

Publisher: Hayashi-ya Sh˘gor˘

Title: Cherry Blossoms at Night (夜の桜, Yoru no sakura)

Description: A young girl breaking a spray of cherry blossoms from a tree

Date: c. 1846

Publisher: Yorozu-ya Jűbei

Title: Plum Blossoms at Night (Yoru no ume, 夜の梅)

Description: Three women by an old plum tree at night

Date: 1845-6

Publisher: Iba-ya Sensabur˘

Title: Plum Blossoms in the Evening Snow (Tsumoru yo no ume, つもる夜の梅)

Description: Three beauties standing in front of a large snow-covered branch

Date: 1846-1848 (censors Muramatsu and Yoshimura)

Publisher: Fujioka-ya Keijir˘

Title: None

Description: Three women collecting plum-blossom branches by candlelight

Date: c. 1848

Publisher: Yorozu-ya Kichibei

Title: Yamino yume

Description: Three women by an old plum tree at night, the robe of the figure on the right is decorated with paulownia leaf crests, and that of the central figure with images of Otsu-e

Date: 1847-1850

Publisher: Kawaguchi-ya Uhei

Title: The First Plum Blossoms of Spring (Ume no sakigake)


Date: c. 1848-9

Publisher: Fujioka-ya Keijir˘

Series: Five Festivals (Go sekku no uchi, 五節句之内睦月)

Robinson: 166

Title: Mutsuki (the new yearĺs festival)

Description: Women celebrating the new year.á In the center is a large Daruma kite.á Mount Fuji covered with snow, new year pine-tree-decorations, casks of sake wrapped in straw coverings, all indicate the season.á There is a signboard of the Mitsui store advertising sundry goods.

Date: 1843-1846 (censor Muramatsu Genroku)

Publisher: Enshű-ya Matabei

Title: The First Time on a Boat in a Miniature Lake (Sensui fune johatsu, 泉水舟乗初)

Description: Women and a child rowing a small boat through a landscaped garden, watching koi in the water

Date: 1847-1848

Publisher: Enshű-ya Matabei

Title: Hana˘gi of the ďgiya (ďgiya uchi Hana-ogi, 扇屋内花')

Description: The courtesan Hana˘gi of the ďgiya in a robe decorated with the monk Mongaku Shonin, showered with gold coins by Benzaiten from clouds above

Title: Yatsuhashi of the Nakamanjiya (Nakamanjiya uchi Yatsuhashi, 中万字屋内八ッ橋)

Description: The courtesan Yatsuhashi of the Nakamanjiya in a robe decorated with sea-animals showered with gold coins by Daikoku from clouds above

Title: Yoyoyama of the Matsubaya (Matsubaya uchi Yoyoyama, 松葉屋代々山 )

Description: The courtesan Yoyoyama of the Matsubaya in a robe decorated with a crab being showered with gold coins

Date: c. 1833

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tobei


NOTE: The gold coins really were oval

Title on each sheet: An Up-to-date Spring Scene (T˘sei haru geshiki, 當盛春景色)

Description: Beautiful women with a pleasure boat

Date: c. 1829-1832

Publisher: ďmi-ya Heihachi


I am grateful to Marc DeVriese for this image.

ôRobinsonö indicates listing in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson, 1961, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.