Lady of the Court Yanagihara Aiko from the series List of Musical Beauties

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Lady of the Court Uematsu Michiko

from the series List of Musical Beauties

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1878

The seventh month: Suketakaya Takasuke IV from the series Famous Views for the Twelve Months

IHL Cat. #1228

About This Print

One of six prints in the series List of Musical Beauties issued in 1878.  In this print the court lady (of the senior fifth rank) Yanagihara Aiko plays a shō (笙) or mouth organ.  Her beauty and music are compared to the flower and bird pictured in the fan-shaped cartouche. 

Another State of This Print
Another state of this print exists (see below) which has an additional cartouche on the right providing the name of the lady pictured and her rank 從位五植松務子 in addition to the series name in the multi-colored cartouche in the upper right also appearing on this collection's print.  

A different state of the print

The Series List of Musical Beauties

A six print series (see below) picturing famous court ladies of old playing classical court music (gagaku 雅楽 ) on traditional instruments. Their beauty is compared to the flower pictured in the fan-shaped cartouche and their music to the song of the pictured bird. Five instruments are being played in the six prints with the sixth print (the upper left print below) showing a court dancer. Starting with the center top print below and moving clockwise we see a ryūteki (龍笛) or "dragon" flute being played, followed by a hichiriki (篳篥) or double reed flute, a shō (笙) or mouth organ, a kaentaiko 火焔太鼓 or "flame" drum and a shōko ( 鉦鼓) or small gong.

The six prints in the series List of Musical Beauties

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1228
 Title (Description) Shogoi-i [Lady of the Court senior fifth rank] Uematsu Michiko
 Series List of Musical Beauties
 音楽美揃 Ongaku Bijin Zoroi
 Artists Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900) and Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
豊原国周筆 Toyohara Kunichika hitsu 
 Seals red Toshidama seal 年玉印 beneath Kunichika signature as seen above
 Publication Date
December 3, 1878 御届明治十一年十二月三日
荒井 喜三郎 Arai Kisaburō [Marks: seal ref. 26-124; pub. ref. 148]
seal of the publisher Iseya Kisaburō

Seal reading:
Left half: 出板人 荒井 喜三郎 shuppanjin (publisher) Arai Kisaburō
南?馬町二丁目二バンチ Nantenmachō Nichōme 2-banchi
Right half: 画工 荒川八十八 gakō (artist) Arakawa Yasohachi followed by his address Shin Hattako-chō in the Asakusa district

Katada Hori Chō (Katada Chōjirō)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - full margins; unbacked; full size; bottom right corner of print shows some loss and is creased; right edge has an area of pigment loss about 3" down from top
 Genre ukiyo-e; bijinga
 Format vertical oban 
 H x W Paper 
 14 11/16 x 10 in. (37.3 x 25.4 cm)
 H x W Image
 14 1/4 x 9 5/8 in. (36.2 x 24.4 cm)
 Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, p. 61-62.
 Collections This Print
 Waseda University Library 201-1049