Various Specialties of Edo Districts

(Edo jiman meibutsu kurabe, 江戸自慢名物比)

Publisher: Iba-ya Kyūbei

c. 1843-1846

 

This series consists of seven half-length portraits of beautiful women (bijin) engaged in daily activities that are related to specialties (meibutsu) of various Edo districts.  The location is illustrated an inset, shaped like Kuniyoshi’s paulownia flower seal, which appears below his signature on some of the prints.  Three designs–Kameido, Imado and Komagome–are inspired by a famous diptych by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) depicting a kitchen scene.  This series is not listed in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints are each about 10 by 7 inches (25 by 18 centimeters), a size known as chūban.

 

Specialty: Souvenir paper dolls from Ōji-Inari Shrine

Beauty: A woman looking at paper foxes while leaning against a palanquin with her elbows

Inset: Plum blossoms at Ōji-Inari Shrine

Schaap: 8.1

 

Specialty: Wisteria from Kameido-Tenmangu Shrine (Kameido no fuji, 亀戸の藤)

Beauty: Waitress at the tea shop at Kameido-Tenmangu Shrine stirring the fire and blowing on the coals through a bamboo tube

Inset: The drum bridge at the Kameido Tenjin Shrine on the Sumida River

Schaap: 8.2

 

 

 

Specialty: Ceramics of Imado

Beauty: Woman painting ceramic toy foxes and toy cats from Asakusa Imado with a baby on her back

Inset: A kiln

Schaap: 8.3

 

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 background 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.  Other simplifications include printing the fabric of the obi (belt) in a single color and using the same color for both the obi and the child’s kimono.

 

Specialty: Pumpkins of Sunamura

Beauty: Woman clutching a pumpkin and looking to her left

Inset: Edo Bay looking out from Sunamura Niita

Schaap: 8.4

 

Specialty: Shellfish from Fukugawa ( 川のむきみ, Fukugawa no mukimi)

Beauty: Woman opening shellfish while looking over her shoulder

Inset: Benten Shrine at Fukugawa

Schaap: 8.5

 

This alternate state of the above print was kindly supplied by Richard Illing

 

Specialty: Fireworks from Ryōgoku

Beauty: Woman in an open boat on the Sumida River

Inset: Ryōgokubashi (a bridge across the Sumida River)

Schaap: 8.6

 

Specialty: Eggplants from Komagome

Beauty: Housewife peeling an eggplant

Inset: Fuji-Gongen Shrine in Komagome

Schaap: 8.7

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

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