THE HOUR OF THE SNAKE (Kitagawa Utamaro)

N.1 fukkoku woodblock print
Period: second half of the 20th century
Condition: very good
Size: 26,5 x 38 cm



It is the hour of the snake (巳ノ刻), or 10 in the morning, and a shinzo (新造) assistant is offering a cup of tea to a courtesan who has just finished her bath and whom we see depicted while refreshing herself wrapped in a beautiful yukata (浴衣) bathrobe, decorated with a pattern obtained with the shibori (絞り) technique.

The woodblock print of vertical large oban (大判) format, originally produced around 1794 by the publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo (蔦屋重三郎), owner of Koshodo (耕書堂), is taken from the famous series “The Twelve Hours in the Houses of Pleasure [in the Yoshiwara District]” (青楼十二時 続) made by the artist Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川歌麿).

The work presented here is a fine woodblock reprint in very good condition of the second half of the 20th century and, as we read in the seals on the left side of the front and on the back, is the number 55 (第五拾五番) of a limited edition of 500 copies (限定五百部之内) made by the prestigious Adachi Hanga (アダチ版画) in Tokyo.