In the previous article we explored the Kunisada series ‘A True-life Devoted Genji’ (c.1851) which included a erotic design featuring Ashikaga Yoshimitsu making love holding a candlestick see (Fig.2.). Today we look at the ode to this design Migita Toshihide (1862-1925).
The Meiji artist Toshihide who was a pupil of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) and got his speciffically Western-style of painting under Kunisawa Shinkuro . He is best known for his senso-e (war prints) and worked mainly as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines. Among his pupils were Ikeda Terukata and Ikeda Shoen.
Utamaro and Kunisada
Fig.1. is from a deluxe set designed by Toshihide with images inspired on excellent shunga from the great ancient masters such as Utamaro and Kunisada. The prints are in the chuban yoko-e format: 8″ x 11″ inches. The above piece features an explicit intimate scene of a couple. A folding screen is standing against the back wall. The decoration portrays a samurai on a horse and a helper. The man (Yoshimitsu) is holding a candle. The condition is great with only some minor soiling in the margin.
In the middle of the upper margin is a zodiacal sign meaning Hitsuji (Goat)! Printed on hand crafted paper (Look at the strong texture!). Use of urushi-e (black lacquer) on the dark parts of the picture and a lot of silver mica detail! Kimedashi (‘blind print’) on the collar of the woman’s kimono and her light blue underdress and on the kimono of the man!