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Comparison of the Ogura 100 Poems by 100 Poets, Part II: No. 92, Lady Sanuki

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Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III), Japanese, (1786–1864)
Comparison of the Ogura 100 Poems by 100 Poets, Part II: No. 92, Lady Sanuki, c. 1847
Ink on paper
13 3/8 in. x 8 5/8 in. (33.97 cm x 21.91 cm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Edo (Japan, 1615-1868)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2010.1.28

Alternate Title: Ogura Nazorae Hyakunin Isshu, Part II: No. 92, Nijo-in no Sanuki

Signed: "oju Toyokuni ga" (By request, drawn by Toyokuni) within yellow Toshidama cartouche with red fill.

Carver seal: "Carved by [Horiko] Fusajiro" in yellow rectangle cartouche in lower left.

Censor seals: "Mera" and "Murata"

Object Description
Vertical color woodblock print from the series "Comparison of the Ogura 100 Poems by 100 Poets" (Ogura nazorae hyakunin isshu). Of the one hundred prints in the series, Hiroshige designed 35, Kuniyoshi designed 51, and Kunisada designed 14. The main register of each print features a scene from a kabuki play; a black and white fan-shaped cartouche above features an imaginary portrait of the poet and the corresponding poem. In the upper left, popular writer Ryukatei Tanekazu (1807-58) provided commentary.

Poem by Nijo-in no Sanuki (c. 1141-1217) (Lady Sanuki in attendance to the Retired Emperor Nijo):

Waga sode ha
shihohi ni mienu
oki no ishi no
hito koso shirane
kahaku ma mo nashi

My sleeves are like
the rock in the offing that
can't be seen even at low tide:
unknown to anyone,
there's not a moment they are dry.

Commentary by Tanekazu: "Yazama who, rather than a powdery snowstorm, has pulverized his own body to dust by exerting himself to his utmost–due to his loyalty–disguises himself as an outcast. And O-Rie, more upright than pines in snow–due to her chastity–has become a streetwalker [tsuji-gimi]. Since his rags are superior to brocade, she is not ashamed of her gaudiness. Ah! To be this man and have such a wife!"

Scene from kabuki play "Kanadehon chushingura" (Treasury of the Forty-Seven Loyal Retainers):
Yazama Jutaro, one of the forty-seven ronin, is on his way to avenge his master's death and has hidden several swords within a bundle of hay. Unexpectedly, he encounters his wife, O-Rie, who has become a common prostitute to support her in-laws.

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