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The Safflower (Suetsumuhana) Chapter 6

Kunisada I (Toyokuni III), 1853, Wood cut
of 4
The Safflower (Suetsumuhana) Chapter 6
The Safflower (Suetsumuhana) Chapter 6
The Safflower (Suetsumuhana) Chapter 6
The Safflower (Suetsumuhana) Chapter 6
Library Item
16251
The Safflower (Suetsumuhana) Chapter 6 from the series "A Modern Collection of Genji in Colour Prints" ("Ima Genji nishiki-e awase")
The print depicts two women walking in the snow. One woman raises her arm to protect her face from snow that falls from a pine branch. To their side, a wooden lantern is also covered with snow. The women wear several layers of hemp and silk kimono and high wooden clogs or 'geta'. The outer kimono of the woman on the left is decorated with blue Genji-ko, the incense stick pattern that marks each of the 54 chapters in Murasaki Shikibu's 'The Tale of Genji'. Safflower was used to produce textile dyes and 'beni' red lipstick. In 'The Tale of Genji' the red colour of the flower is comically associated with the red nose of the daughter of the Hitachi Prince, or Suetsuhana as she is known. The direct translation of Suetsumuhana is 'Snow month flower' and this explains why the print depicts a winter scene.

This image derives from the serial novel or 'gokan', 'A Fake Murasaki and a Rustic Genji' (Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji) written by Ryutei Tanehiko and illustrated by Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), that was published between 1829-1842. This story reworks elements from the 'Tale of Genji' and transposes the action from the Heian period (794-1185) to the time of the Muromachi era's Onin Wars (1467-1477).
Kunisada I (Toyokuni III)
1853
27.9 x 19.8 cm
Art and Design Library
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