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signed Ichiyosai Toyokuni ga with red Toshidama seal, censor’s seal Watarai, followed by the publisher’s seal Sanoki (Sanoya Kihei of Kikakudo), ca. 1845
oban tate-e 4 1/4 by 10 in., 36.1 by 25.4 cm
A young beauty wearing a lovely kimono decorated with flowering cherry blossoms sits with a biwa resting on her knees.
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 portrait is of Izumi Shikibu (a contemporary of Murasaki Shikibu, the author of The Tale of Genji) and the poem is number 56 from the Hyakunin isshu.
kono yo no hoka no
ima hito-tabi no
afu koto mogana
Among my memories of this world, from which
I will soon be gone,
oh, how I wish there was
one more meeting, now, with you!
Joshua S. Mostow, The Hundred Poets Compared, 2007, p. 146, no. 56 (poem translation)