New Year's Outing Before a Suspension Bridge


Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

New Year's Outing Before a Suspension Bridge

by Toyohara Kunichika and Kawanabe Kyōsai, 1877

IHL Cat. #493
Mirror of Magical Heroes

About This Print

Source: "Kawanabe Kyosai and Toyohara Kunichika," by Shigeru Oikawa appearing in Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), by Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, p. 40, 42.

In 1877 the publisher Sawamuraya Seikichi issued this collaborative print by Kunichika and Kyōsai, the only collaborative triptych by the two artists.  “Kunichika contributed the fore- and middle-ground scenes illustrating figures in aristocratic dress, which are apparently a reference to the 11th-century Tale of Genji.  The background is dominated by Kyōsai’s rendition of a western-style suspension bridge which had recently been built on the grounds of the imperial palace in Tokyo.”  The artists have signed the print in the areas of their contribution.  Kunichika’s signature in the right panel is proceeded with the two characters 人物  (“jinbutsu”) meaning “human figure by.”

Kunichika and Kyōsai were two of the most popular woodblock print artists of the 1870s.  Contemporaries, they were “well-acquainted, but at times adversarial, companions.”   It was not unusual for publishers to have multiple artists work on different portions of a single print, each being assigned their design strength.  Kyōsai and Kunichika first collaborated in 1875 on four prints in the series Collection of Famous views of Modern Tokyo1, published by the same publisher of this triptych. 

1 See the print The Entrance of Asakusa Temple: Taking a Portrait of the Nio Guardians for additional information on this series.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #493
 Title or Description New Year's Outing Before a Suspension Bridge
 Azumagenji no uchi komatsubiki sonō no tsuribashi 東源氏之内 小松曳園生之釣橋
 Artists Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900) and Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
right: 人物 豊原国周 筆 jinbutsu Toyohara Kunichika hitsu
center: 豊原国周 筆 Toyohara Kunichika hitsu 
left: 應需 惺々狂斎 ōju Seisei Kyōsai

 荒川八十八画 Arakawa Yasohachi (Kunichika's mother's surname and the artist's given name)
上野丁一丁目十二バンチ (Ueno address)
 Seal of the Artist red Toshidama seal beneath Kunichika signatures
 Publication Date
January 12, 1877 
Takekawa Seikichi han (Sawamuraya Seikichi) 沢村屋 清吉 followed by address 須田町四バンチ [Marks: 26-081, Publisher ref. 459]
 彫工銀 Horikō Gin (left panel within publisher's cartouche) 彫銀 Hori Gin (right panel below Kunichika signature)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - minor soiling mainly visible in margins; full margins; separate sheets; not backed
 Genre ukiyo-e; 源氏絵 genji-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 14 5/8 x 9 7/8 in. (37.1 x 25.1 cm) each sheet
 H x W Image 
 Collections This Print Tokyo Metropolitan Library 193-C002 (01, 02,03); Waseda University Library 文庫30 B0227
 Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), by Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, fig. 12 p. 42.
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