Fashionable Brocade Pictures of the Tales of Ise: wo, Catalpa Bow

Maker(s)
Artist: Katsukawa Shunshō 勝川春章 (1726-1792)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1772-73
Medium
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 22.7 x 15.7 cm (8 15/16 x 6 3/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.36
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

Keywords
Anne van Biema collection, death, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, koban, poems, snow, Tales of Ise, ukiyo-e, woman, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

This print illustrates a tragic episode from the eleventh-century poetic narrative, "Tales of Ise (Ise monogatari) in which a young wife whose husband has been away for three years promises herself to another man, only to have her husband return on the night when she has promised to join her suitor. When her husband leaves her, following an exchange of poems in which she expresses her love for the other man, she has a change of heart. She pursues her husband in vain, falling down beside a stream, where just before she dies she writes a poem on a stone using blood from her finger:

Unable to detain
the man who has left,
rejecting my love,
I feel that soon
I will perish.

This print comes from a series of forty-eight images illustrating episodes from Tales of Ise. Shunsho's designs for the series reflect the elegant style of the Tosa school, whose members were official painters for the imperial court.


Translation of poem by Helen Craig McCullough (Tales of Ise: Lyrical Episodes from Tenth-Century Japan [Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1968])

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 124, pp. 302-303.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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