Playing a Poetry Game, 1858

by Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)

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Playing a Poetry Game, 1858 by Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)

Original Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864) Japanese Woodblock Print
Playing a Poetry Game, 1858

Comments - Terrific five-panel print of actors offstage enjoying a poetry game called "kyokusui no utage" along the edge of a river. Dating back to the Heian era, the game involved setting a sake cup afloat on a small tray. Downstream, each participant had to quickly compose a 31-syllable poem before the cup sake floated past. The writer then got to drink the sake after fishing the cup out of the stream. At right, a man kneels beside the water's edge, taking red lacquer sake cups from a stock on a tray next to a kettle. He looks up over his shoulder, chatting with the couple standing nearby. At far left, a man uses a stick to retrieve a floating cup, his companion holding onto his obi to keep him from tumbling into the water. Near the center, a man takes a brush in hand to write his own verse as he relaxes atop a platform spread with tatami mats. A meal is laid out on a red lacquer tray, with a bottle of sake in a warmer nearby. Beside him, a beauty smiles happily while her companion smokes a pipe, one sandal kicked off on the ground below. The plum trees behind them are covered with buds and blossoms, and a rosy glow spreads across the sky as the sun begins to set. A fantastic image with wonderful color and detail, and fine bokashi shading in the water and sky. A great early spring scene, rarely seen.

Artist - Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)

Image Size - 13 5/8" x 47 1/8"

Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Five separate panels, backed with paper. Stitching holes at one side of each panel, a couple small holes, repaired with backing. Slight toning and soiling, slight rubbing at edges. Please see photos for details.

Playing a Poetry Game, 1858 by Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Playing a Poetry Game, 1858 by Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)