Series of Poems Set to the Koto

(Koto no kumiuta zukushi, 琴の組歌つくし)

Publisher: Eshima

c. 1840


This series of prints is listed as number 97 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  They are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.  I am grateful to Ward Pieters for assisting with this series.




Description: Beauty standing on balcony looking out at the rain




Title: The bridge at Uji (Uji no bashi)

Description: Beauty watching a distant storm over the bridge




Description: Beauty and girl picking flowers



This image differs from the above in having a gourd-shaped seal in the bottom center.  This is probably the seal of a secondary publisher that bought the woodblocks from Eshima.




Description: Beauty and small boy listening to a cuckoo



This is another version of the above print.  It is a less labor-intensive printing than the above, which almost invariably means a later edition.  In this print, the delicate shading (bokashi) in the child’s clothing was omitted.  Bokashi was achieved by hand applying a gradation of ink to the wooden printing block rather than inking the block uniformly.  This hand-application had to be repeated for each sheet of paper that was printed.



Description: Two beauties playing with children, one of whom has an origami crane



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