Hokusai: Court Lady of the Heian eraHokusai: Court Lady of the Heian era
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Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)

A standing Heian era court-lady, dressed in a splendid formal Jûnihitoe kimono, holding a cypress-wood fan (hiôgi) in her hand, a birdcage to her side. This - empty – birdcage provides the discreet clue to identify the lady as the imperial court lady and poetess Murasaki Shikibu (end of 10th - beginning of 11th century), author of the famous novel Genji Monagatari (Tale of Prince Genji).

Untitled surimono with two poems

Series: Gokasen (The five immortal woman poets)

Signature: Hokusai aratame Iitsu hitsu

Date: 1820s

Size: Shikishiban, 21 x 18,6 cm

Excellent impression, printed on thick paper, with strong gauffrage and metal pigments. Some fading of colours. In margins partially yellowed, a few very faint small stains, a little rubbing and faint creasing, a short pleat in bottom middle. On back side two paper hinging remnants. Overall very nice condition of this extremely rare surimono by Hokusai.

Another of the apparently very few extant copies of this print, from the collection of the Museo d’Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone in Genova, is illustrated in: Helena Čapková, Nashitsubo no gokasen – Five immortal poetesses of the Pear Chamber. A series of surimono by Katsushika Hokusai. In: Andon 88, 2010, S. 28ff, also providing a transcript and translation of the two poems as well as a detailed discussion of the whole Gokasen-series.

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