Kuniyoshi: A loving couple
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Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)

An couple in a domestic scene: the man, dressed in the typical hanten jacket of a craftsman, is sitting behind the woman, holding her hand tightly as he uses tweezers to remove fine hairs from his lover’s neck. A red tabby cat climbs up her leg and meows loudly for attention.

The blossoming plum tree outside in the garden, the couple’s warm clothes and the mochi roasting on the hibachi grill all suggest the time of the New Year. A folding screen behind the couple, with an image of Mount Fuji in a thunderstorm, is signed with Kuniyoshi’s pseudonym Hodoyoshi.

From: Shunshoku irifune chô (Spring Colours: A Register of Ships Entering the Harbour)

Date: 1837

Original Japanese colour woodblock print.
Size: Hanshibon double book plate, 19 x 27,5 cm (overall)

Very good impression, with some embossing, metal pigments somewhat oxidized, colours a little faded. The two sheets mounted together, backed with thin paper. Margins a little trimmed. Lower corners rubbed, fingerstained, restored paper loss. Text partially restored at lower left. A few small wormholes. Overall good condition.
A very lovely and rare abuna-e (i.e. a non-explicit shunga) - from the 3rd (of 3) volumes of this illustrated work. The text of was written by the writer Ryûtei Tanehiko (also under a pseudonym).
Cf. MFA Boston 2008.1169.1-3; Kuniyoshi Project (Shunga).