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signed Kochoro Toyokuni ga with red Toshidama seal, censor’s seal Watarai, followed by the publisher’s seal Sanoki (Sanoya Kihei of Kikaudo), ca. 1845
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 10 in., 36.1 by 25.4 cm
A standing beauty wearing an elegant kimono decorated with a pattern of butterflies and plovers in flight (an allusion to the legend of the Soga Brothers) holding a large shamisen with a plectrum in her right hand as she adjusts the tuning pegs with her left.
After issuing the 37th design in this series (except no. 47) of 100 poet prints, Kunisada changed the framework of the compositions by eliminating the series title and replacing the poem cards with a cartouche in the shape of an open book illustrating the featured poet and poem. The poem is by Minamoto no Shigeyuki (Hyakunin isshu no. 48).
Kaze wo itami
iha utsu nami no
onore nomi kudakete mono wo
omofu koro kana
Waves that beat against the rocks,
fanned by a fierce wind –
it is I alone
who breaks, those times
when I think of her!
Joshua S. Mostow, The Hundred Poets Compared, 2007, p. 130, no. 48 (poem translation)