Sixteen Wonderful Considerations of Profit

(Myōdensu jūroku rikan, 妙でん老十六利勘)

Publisher: Enshū-ya Matabei

c. 1845

 

A rakan is Buddhist disciple of exceptional merit.  This series of sixteen numbered prints pairs beautiful women with rakan.  It is listed as number 103 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ōban.

 

Number: 1

Rakan: Yokuren sonja (欲連損者) making fire with a finger and holding a rake

Beauty: Woman kneeling in front of a box covered with a checkered cloth

Consideration: Rakan struggled with greed

Schaap: 11.1

 

 

Number: 2

Rakan: Gaman sonja (我慢損者) holding a burning candle from which a dragon

emerges

Beauty: A barefooted woman with a pipe bending towards a basket containing fish and bamboo.  There are two books on the floor

Consideration: Rakan struggled with stubbornness

Schaap: 11.2

 

 

Number: 3

Rakan: Karikosu sonja (借越損者) holding an incense burner in front of him

Beauty: A seated woman leaning backwards and covering her mouth while reading a letter

Consideration: Rakan struggled with debts

Schaap: 11.3

 

 

Number: 4

Rakan: Ogora sonja (奢羅損者) seated and working with an abacus

Beauty: A standing woman, wiping her hands on a towel while looking at lacquered dinnerware

Consideration: Rakan struggled with wastefulness

Schaap: 11.4

 

 

Another state of the above design

 

Number: 5

Rakan: Hinsuro sonja (貧須盧損者) seated holding a jewel in his right hand

Beauty: A standing beauty with a long untied obi

Consideration: Rakan struggled with poverty

Schaap: 11.5

 

 

Number: 6

Rakan: Kayou sonja (通損者) seated with a stick and an attendant behind him

Beauty: A woman standing on geta (wooden sandals) looking to the right with an inscribed lantern on the floor

Schaap: 11.6

 

 

Number: 7

Rakan: Furuna sonja (降那損者) holding up a tablet

Beauty: A beauty kneeling in front of a brazier with a cat in the layers of her kimono and a book and a pipe on the ground next to her

Schaap: 11.7

 

 

Number: 8

Rakan: Taben sonja (多辨損者) seated holding up a pair of tongs

Beauty: A seated woman in a blue robe suckling a child with a toy in front of her on the floor

Schaap: 11.8

 

 

Another state of the above design

 

Number: 9

Rakan: Asane sonja (朝寝者損者) seated fanning himself

Beauty: A woman making her toilette with a cat standing close to her

Schaap: 11.9

 

 

Number: 10

Rakan: Shokuran sonja (食乱損者) holding up a miniature shrine

Beauty: A woman standing in front of an opened box whilst looking over her left

shoulder

Consideration: Rakan struggled with gluttony

Schaap: 11.10

 

 

This is another state of the above print.  A print such as this, which is mostly or entirely printed in blue, is called an azuri-e.

 

Number: 11

Rakan: Bonnō sonja (煩悩損者), the rakan of carnal desire, seated burning a scroll

Beauty: A standing beauty holding a piece of cloth in her mouth

Schaap: 11.11

 

 

Another state of the above design

 

Number: 12

Rakan: Inga sonja (因果損者) seated in front of a spinning wheel

Beauty: A woman in a red and brown kimono dancing with her arms in the air

Schaap: 11.12

 

 

I am grateful to Ward Pieters for locating this alternate state of the above print.

 

 

Number: 13

Rakan: Shōridai sonja (小利大損者) seated blowing bubbles through a pipe

Beauty: A standing woman holding a bottle while preparing a meal

Schaap: 11.13

 

 

Number: 14

Rakan: Tanki sonja (短気者損者) seated with a bucket behind him holding a book on his lap and a brush in his mouth

Beauty: A seated woman in a striped kimono holding a long pipe on her lap

Consideration: Impatience is unprofitable

Schaap: 11.14

 

 

Number: 15

Rakan: Kinnara sonja (金奈羅損者) seated holding up a wooden hobbyhorse

Beauty: A woman kneeling by a shōgi (Japanese chess) game and a tea kettle

Schaap: 11.15

 

 

Number: 16

Rakan: Mayō sonja (迷者損者) holding a box with two miniature statues

Beauty: A beauty kneeling in front of a chest of drawers with a mirror

Schaap: 11.16

 

“Schaap” refers to listing in Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi by Robert Schaap (Hotei Publishing, Leiden, 1998).

 

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