Untitled series of beauties compared to the Five Elements

Publisher: Fujioka-ya Hikotarō

c. 1840

 

The Five Elements (gogyō, 五行) are wood (ki), fire (hi), earth (tsuchi), metal (kane) and water (mizu).  They do not represent the modern scientific concept of elements as fundamental substances out of which all things are composed.  Rather, they represent categories and concepts to which all things can be likened and by which analysed in a spiritual or philosophical manner.  This series is not listed 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.

Kuniyoshi - untitled series of the Five Elements (Gogyō), Wood (Ki), pub

 

Element: Wood (Ki, )

Description:

 

Kuniyoshi%20-%20untitled%20series%20of%20the%20Five%20Elements%20(Gogyō),%20Fire

 

Element: Fire (Hi, ) Description: Beauty with a paper lantern   

 

Earth (Tsuchi), from an untitled series of the Five Elements (Gogyō)

 

Element: Earth (Tsuchi, )

Description: Standing beauty looking downward at shoots with butterflies

 

Earth (Tsuchi), from an untitled series of the Five Elements (Gogyō)

 

Another state of the above print

Kuniyoshi - untitled series of the Five Elements (Gogyō), Earth (Tsuchi) (blue)

 

Yet another state of the above design printed entirely in blue and red

 

 

Element: Metal (Kin, )

Description: Fulling silk

 

 

Another state of the above design with different colors

 

A simplified and less labor intensive state of the above design

 

Kuniyoshi - untitled series of beauties for the 5 elements, Water

 

Element: Water (Mizu, )

Description: Beauty washing a textile

 

 

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