Edo prints

  Design: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)  
  Album title: Ehon mushi erami  
  Size: 22.0 x 32.6 cm (ōban)  
  Posthumous printing from newly cut woodblocks    
  Photography: Jacques Commandeur
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Utamaro Ehon mushi erami


Special effects: silver metallic pigments on the wings of the dragonfly and the butterflies.

Originally published in 1788 by publisher Tsutaya Jūzaburō (1750-1797). The black stamp on the verso of the print mentions that the blocks of this later edition were carved by Ōkura Kenji (大倉  健二), and printed by Watanabe Akio (渡辺 章夫).

This is one double page from the first album called Ehon mushi erami (which is written as 絵本虫撰 and translates into ‘Selected insects picture book’).

The poem for the insect on the right of the print reads:


akitsumushi tomo
naraba nare
hanachi wa yaraji
torimochi no sao

which translates into:


Even if her heart
has become tired of me
Like a dragonfly
I will know how to hold her
from a stick of glue

The poem for the insect on the left of the print reads:


Yume no ma wa
chō tomo keshite
suite mimu
koishiki hito no
hana no kuchibiru

which translates into:


The time of a dream
to turn into a butterfly
to suck
like a flower the lips
of her that I languish


Provenance: Fuji Arts

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