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Utagawa  Kuniyoshi: Bijin paired with a rakan

from the series Myôdensu jûroku rikan

Japan, Edo period, c. 1845


Colour woodblock print (nishiki-e), ink and color on paper, vertical ôban (oban tate-e), 25.6 cm × 37.4 cm. 


In the witty series Myôdensu jûroku rikan (Sixteen Wonderful Considerations of Profit) Kuniyoshi has paired beauties with those of the sixteen followers of Buddha, the rakan. This print is number 15, depicting the rakan Kinnara sonja in a hanging scroll holding up a wooden hobbyhorse and the beauty kneeling by a shôgi (Japanese chess) game and a tea kettle.


Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川 国芳?, January 1, 1797 – April 14, 1861) was one of the last great masters of the Japanese ukiyo-e style ofwoodblock prints and painting. He was a member of the Utagawa school.

The range of Kuniyoshi's subjects included many genres: landscapes, beautiful women, Kabuki actors, cats, and mythical animals. He is known for depictions of the battles of legendary samurai heroes. His artwork incorporated aspects of Western representation inlandscape painting and caricature.

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