Girl in the Purple Colour of Edo (Murasaki Edo series)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) - Girl in the Purple Colour of Edo (Murasaki Edo series)
The young girl, with a naturally dishevelled hair knot above her face and no makeup, bends her head in contemplation. She holds a smoking pipe and a tobacco box in her hand and is dressed in a dark four-layered kimono with floral decoration in fashionable purple (murasaki), which became the colour of the city of Edo (today’s Tokyo). That is why the title “Edo Murasaki” inscribed in the top left cartouche with a square motif with the torii gate is basically metonymic, elevating the colour to the symbol of a beautiful woman. The girl stands in two bands of clouds with small hatched orange arcs, i.e. in timeless space. Kunisada endorses the legacy of the early masters of colour woodblock prints from the 1770s (Harunobu, Koryūsai, Shigemasa) and their type of child-like fragile beauties by using the so-called medium-size format chūban. In terms of style, this sheet follows Kunisada’s series of beauties in landscape sceneries “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō” (Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi no uchi).
measurements: height 25,6 cm
width 18,3 cm
material: paper
technique: Colour woodblock print
inventory number: Vm 2148
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art