N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Year: 1845 ca.
Condition: very good
Size: 23,5 x 35,5 cm



So insignificant / and worthless as I am / why did I start / loving you / with all of myself? (数ならで / なにはのことも / かひなきに / なにみをつくし / 思ひそめけん) The words of the Akashi lady (明石の御方), taken from the chapter “Miotsukushi” (澪標) of “The Tale of Genji” (源氏物語) and visible in the upper inset cartouche, introduce this elegant representation of the faithful servant Shimobe Yodohei (下部淀平) carrying, hidden in a hamper from which comes out the sleeve of a kimono, princess Sakura (さくら姫), who is guilty of a double murder in the context of the “Sakurahime Azuma Bunsho” (桜姫東文章), a complex, and partly even macabre, story of love and conspiracies of kabuki theater.

The precious woodblock print was made by the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) and is the fourteenth print of the “Ukiyo-e Comparisons of the Cloudy Chapters of Genji” (源氏雲浮世画合), a series depicting stories and legends inspired by the chapters of the famous work written by the lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu (紫式部).

The work, printed around 1845 by the publisher Iseya Ichibei (伊勢屋市兵衛), is in very good general condition.