Stories of Wise Women and Faithful Wives, Part II

 

 

 

Title:

Description: Ôiko (大井児) damming a stream with a huge rock

Robinson: S20.17

 

Title: Princess Sayo at Matsu-ura (Matsu-ura Sayo-hime, 松裏佐用姫)

Description: Sayo-hime at Matsu-ura in Higo Province watching her husband’s ship leave for Korea

Robinson: S20.18

 

Title:

Description: Shizuka-gozen wearing the full dress of a shirabyôshi, in which she danced before Yoritomo at Tsuru-ga-oka

Robinson: S20.19

 

Title: The Maid Take-jo (Kokuji Take-jo, 嬶竹女)

Description: Take-jo (Otake Dainichi Nyorai) sprinkling grain for birds

Robinson: S20.20

 

Note the halo formed by a hanging pan around the head of this servant, who is in fact a divine being

 

Title: Princess Tamaori (Tamaori-hime, 玉依姫)

Description: Tammayori-hime (usually written Tamaori-hime) making fans in retirement after the death of her husband, Atsumori

Robinson: S20.21

 

Title: Princess Terute (Terute-hime, 照天姫)

Description: Princess Terute pulling her crippled husband on a cart

Robinson: S20.22

 

Title:

Description: Tokiwa-gozen fleeing with her children through the snow

Robinson: S20.23

This is another edition of the same design.  It is a less labor-intensive printing, which almost invariably means a later edition.  The delicate shading of color in the sky has been replaced by a solid grey.  The shading is called bokashi and 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.

 

Title:

Description: Tomoe-gozen seated on a padded mat supervising her young son Asahina Saburô at fencing practice

Robinson: S20.24

 

Another state of the above design

 

Title: Tora-gozen (寅御前)

Description: Tora-gozen in a wind, her hat blowing away; after the affair of the Soga brothers she became a nun

Robinson: S20.25

 

Title: Uneme (采女)

Description: Uneme standing in court robes holding a fan with three nested ceremonial sake cups and a ceremonial sake pourer

Robinson: S20.26

 

Title:

Description: Yamabuki-gozen seated on several shields by a log fire mending the coat of her husband Yoshinaka

Robinson: S20.27

 

Title: The Wife of Kajiwara Genda Kagesue (Kajiwara Genta Kagesue tsuma, 梶原源太景季妻)

Description: The wife of Kajiwara Genda Kagesue with a small girl attendant carrying a branch of cherry blossoms

Robinson: S20.28

 

 

This is another edition of the same design.  The above print is the more labor intensive printing, which almost invariably means an earlier edition.  In this print, the woodblocks for green ink (grass) and brown ink (both kimono) were omitted, as was the pattern in the red portion of the little girl’s kimono.  This pattern consists of light and dark shades of red, which required applying red ink with two different woodblocks.  The dark red probably represents two superimposed layers of ink while the light red is only a single layer.

Title: The Wife of Kusunoki Tei-i Masashige (Kusunoki Tei-i Masashige tsuma, 楠廷尉正成妻)

Description: The wife of Kusunoki Tei-i Masashige restraining her young son Masatsura from performing seppuku after his father’s death

Robinson: S20.29

 

NOTE: The term “hara-kiri”, although more common in English than “seppuku”, is considered in Japan to be a vulgar and disrespectful description of an honorable action.

 

Title:

Description: Fujinoe, the wife of Izumi no Saburô Tadahira, standing holding a naginata (pole arm) while an attendant maid pours out hot drinks

Robinson: S20.30

 

 

This is another edition of the same design.  The above print with a blue top border and pigment in the steam emanating from the hot drinks is the more labor intensive printing, which almost invariably means an earlier edition.  The gradual shading of ink is called bokashi.  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.

 

Title: The Daughter of Dainagon Yukinari (Dainagon Yukinari musume, 大納言行成女)

Description: The daughter of Dainagon Yukinari painted a butterfly so lifelike that her cat grabbed it

Robinson: S20.31

 

NOTE: Kuniyoshi loved cats and included them in many of his prints.  It is said that they had the run of his studio.

“Robinson” refers to listing in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by Basil William Robinson (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1982) and its privately published supplement.

 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO MAIN PAGE