Kunichika - Thirty-Six Tokyo Restaurants
This page displays prints from the series “Thirty-six Famous Tokyo Restaurants” by Toyohara Kunichika. This colorful series pairs famous geisha with famous Tokyo eateries. In the series, the rectangular panel at top left shows either speciality dishes or views from the restaurant. The large yellow cartouche on the right shows the series' title, name of the geisha and the restaurant's address. The background is split diagonally with a strong red textile pattern in the top half called "Asa no ha". The Asa no ha pattern is one of the most popular traditional patterns often seen on Japanese kimono. Asa no ha means: Asa = hemp: no = of: ha = leaf. The geometric pattern, represents overlapping hemp leaves. Hemp was the main material of clothing for the common people until cotton was cultivated in the Sengoku period (around 1600). The bottom half of the background has varieties of plants and leaves rendered in the style of a Japanese monochrome ink painting. This technique was first developed in China during the Sung dynasty (960–1274) and introduced to Japan by Zen Buddhist monks in the mid-14th century.
This series is one of many restaurant series by different artists; including Yoshitoshi, Kunisada, Hiroshige, Yoshiiku, and others. It shows the collaboration between commerce and art through using the medium and popularity of woodblock prints as a marketing vehicle. This series, along with Kunichika's other series "Thirty-Six Famous Modern Restaurants" are wonderfully designed and produced. The complex patterns, dynamic compositions, beautiful portraits of geisha, and interesting scenes are a major reason for the success of this print series. The series was printed in 1870 by publisher: 万屋 孫兵衛 Yorozuya Magobē
Carver: 片田彫長 Katada Chojirō. We only have about half of the prints and they are shown in no particular order.
Name to come soon ;)