Kunisada II: Young geisha
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Utagawa Kunisada II (1823-1880)
A young geisha at the festival parade. She is wearing a colourful Tekomai costume with a peony hat on her back, holding a Kanabô rattle-stick and a fan with the inscription "Matsuri" (festival). The impression of festive opulence is heightened by large flowering peonies in the background.
The Tekomai geisha was a traditional travesty costume at the great annual festivals in Yoshiwara and Edo, such as the Niwaka festival, the Sannô Matsuri or the Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri. Disguised as brave young men in trousers, the whole costume in daring colours and patterns, they accompanied the portable shrines (Mikoshi) at the parade, while singing and dancing
Title: Rakugan (Descending Wild Geese)
Series: Beautiful women compared to the eight views of Lake Biwa (Ômi hakkei)
Signature: Kunisada ga, in Toshidama cartouche
Publisher: Iseya Ichiemon (Kaku-Tsuji), Edo (Marks 16-029)
Size: Uchiwa-e (fan-print), 23 x 28 cm (overall)
Excellent impression and colours. On the left side trimmed to the image. Two weak vertical folds, creases at both right corners. Soiled, brownish stains in side margins. At right margin some small holes and a few small paper thinnings restored. Overall good condition.
Very rare. So far no other copy traceable, also no other prints from this series. Since fan-prints were usually mounted and used, unmounted Edo period prints are rarely preserved.
On the woman’s kimono collar a pattern of flying geese, full moon and reeds, alluding to the eight classic views of Lake Biwa (Ômi hakkei).