Given title: Three Figures on a Bridge

Utagawa Kunisada 歌川国貞 (Japanese, 1786-1864)

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The hairstyle and footwear of the woman on the right-as well as the fact that she holds the lantern for the other two-indicate that she is a lady-in-waiting. The rich kimono patterns are typical of Kunisada's facility with decoration, and the scene allows him to introduce an element of landscape, which many consider his strength.

The signature Kōchōrō Toyokuni on the two end prints is one of Kunisada's early epithets, Kōchōrō, referring to a period when he studied painting in the school of Hanabusa Itchō (1652-1724) under its fourth generation head, Hanabusa Ikkei, after being passed over as successor to Toyokuni at the time of the latter's death in 1825. On the center panel he uses his master's pseudonym, Ichiyōsai Toyokuni.

The surface of the paper has been abraded, evidenced by some pilling and thinned areas. The paper is discolored and the colors faded. The gauffrage, or embossed, patterns have flattened out, and the lacquer-black design on the dark grey areas of the man's robe has lost much of its sheen. It is difficult to explain the white areas below his hands; it is doubtful that such large and prominent areas could be simply attributed to misprinting.

Signed Kōchōrō Toyokuni ga and Ichiyōsai Toyokuni ga.

Purchased by the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Indiana in 1906.

Object Information

Utagawa Kunisada 歌川国貞 (Japanese, 1786-1864)
creation date
about 1847-1852
ink on paper, color woodblock print
13-1/2 x 28-1/2 in. (total image) Panels are all trimmed, pasted together with overlapping edges.
mark descriptions
Signed by artist: Ichiyōsai Toyokuni ga (A and C); Kōchōrō Toyokini ga (B)
Publisher's mark: Fujioka-ya Keijirō (each)
Censors' seals: Fuku (Fukushima Wajirō) and Muramatsu (Muramatsu Genroku)
accession number
credit line
John Herron Fund
Public Domain
Asian Art

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