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Komachi by the Kiyomizudera Waterfalls

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Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Japanese, (1797–1861)
Komachi by the Kiyomizudera Waterfalls, 1851
Ink on Paper
14 1/2 in. x 9 7/8 in. (368.3 mm x 250.83 mm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Fred Marer
Accession Number: 93.3.125

Full Title: Contemporary Seven Komachis, Clear Water: Komachi by the Kiyomizudera Waterfalls

On envelope in pencil: "Geisha dropped fan in flight from Contemporary 7 Komachis." Signed: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Artist's seal: Yoshi-kiri. Censor's seal: double censor's seal (Fuku and Muramatsu).

Colored ink on paper; woodblock print.

Object Description
Dressed in summer kimono Komachi strolls near the waterfalls of the Buddhist temple Kiyomizudera in Kyoto. Reportedly as an older woman Komachi would secretly meet there with the Bishop Henjo (816-890). The main image of worship at Kiyomizudera is Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and according to later legends, Komachi is said to have been a manifestation of this deity.

Kyoto's Kiyomizudera was such a popular pilgrimage site, that a replica was constructed in Edo at Ueno, near the licensed pleasure quarters of Yoshiwara, and perhaps the artist has shown here a contemporary geisha in a rendezvous at Ueno. She holds a tobacco pipe, as well as a fan, and appears to be a stylish modern woman of the mid-19th century rather than a court lady of a thousand years earlier.

See also 93.3.126 and 44.1.1 for "Seven Modern Komachi: Kayoi"

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