Edo prints

  Design: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)  
  Album title: Poem of the pillow  
  Size: 24.5 x 37.7 cm (ōban)  
  Posthumous printing from newly cut woodblocks    
  Photography: Jacques Commandeur
Previous Home Next

Utamaro Poem of the pillow


Originally published in 1788 by publisher Tsutaya Jūzaburō (1750-1797). The accompanying information sheet mentions that this later edition was published by Isyu-Kankokai, that the blocks were carved by Ishii Torao (石井寅男), and that the printer was Irie Yoshimitsu (入江義光).

This is one page from the famous shunga album 歌まくら, which is pronounced as Utamakura and translates into ‘Poem of the Pillow’. We see a couple up on the second floor of a restaurant, presumably having finished their meal.

The poem on the fan reads:


which is pronounced as:

Hamaguri ni
hashi o shikka to
shigi tachi-kanuru
aki no yūgure

and translates into:

Its beak caught firmly
In the clamshell
The snipe cannot fly away
Of an autumn evening


Provenance: the Flea Market of Mokuhankan

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional