Wild Geese Flying to Masaki (Masaki no rakugan)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) - Wild Geese Flying to Masaki (Masaki no rakugan)
The sheet comes from the series “Eight Views of the Sumida River in Fans” (Ōgiawase Sumidagawa hakkei). A classic theme of Chinese ink painting, Eight Views of Hsiao and Hsiang was introduced into the ukiyo-e genre in the 18th century. The series Eight Views from the Ōmi Province, Eight Celebrated Landscapes, Eight Views of Edo etc. were done in this genre. The firmly established themes of these paintings are also inscribed in the background of this series, forming subtitles for the individual scenes from the Sumida River surroundings, as can be seen in the background of the fan-shaped cartouches. They also refer to the figure of the beauty in the foreground of the picture. The compositional connection between the two separate scenes and the excellent technical quality of the sheets are remarkable. The series comes from the Joe Hloucha Collection, and its publisher was Izumiya Ichibei. (See Helena Honcoopová, Kunisada, Praha 2005, pp. 90 and 92). This print accentuates the melancholy quality of motherly love, which is related to the Sumida River by the plot of the Nō play “Sumida River”. The drama features a mother who nearly goes insane and sacrifices herself as she keeps returning to the banks of the Sumida River looking for her kidnapped child, though the boy is dead. His mother only briefly sees an apparition of her son, which comes to her from a nearby mound. The faith in the Buddhist bond between mother and child is also highlighted here.
measurements: height 35,9 cm
width 24,5 cm
material: paper
technique: Colour woodblock print
inventory number: Vm 1683
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art