Edo prints

  Design: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)  
  Album title: Ehon mushi erami  
  Size: 21.9 x 32.5 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 grasshopper and dragonfly.

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 Maeda Kentarō (前田 謙太郎), and printed by Watanabe Akio (渡辺 章夫).

This is one double page from the second 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 part of the print reads:


kusa no tamoto wo
hiki mireba
hinago no ina to
tobinoku zo uki

which translates into:

Rice grasshopper

Just a little
at her green sleeve
to see I have tucked
But saying no, just like the grasshopper
with one leap she ran away

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


Shinobu yori
koe koso tatene
ono ga omoi ni
yaseigokete mo

which translates into:

Red dragonfly

Better to cry one's pain
than suffer in silence
should one like the red dragonfly
exhaust oneself
from love

David Bull also made a great reproduction of the left part of this print as can be seen here and obtained here.


Provenance: Fuji Arts

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