THE FEAST OF SEVEN HERBS (Utagawa Kuniyoshi)

N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Year: 1849
Condition: signs of aging
Size: 24,5 x 36 cm



Rare woodblock print of vertical large oban (大判) format, made in 1849 by the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) and dedicated to Jinjitsu (人日), that is the “Human Day” which in Japan is also known as the “Feast of Seven Herbs”, a name deriving from the custom of eating a rice soup made with seven different herbs to ensure good health and to ward off away evil spirits in the coming new year.

The work is taken from “The Five Annual Ceremonies” (五節句之内), an interesting series of prints in which each of the festivals of the Japanese calendar is paired with a scene from the kabuki play “Onnagori Goshiki no Hanakago” (余波五色花魁香), which was performed in September 1849 at the Ichimura-za (市村座) theater in Tokyo.

The print, produced by the publisher Minatoya Kohei (湊屋小兵衛), despite the imperfections on the corners and some signs of aging, including slight vertical folds and worming and binding holes, is in overall good condition.