Kiyoshi Hikariin - 36 good and evil beauties

Kunichika - Kiyoshi Hikariin

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Toyohara Kunichika


In this print, Kunichika shows a princess - Kiyoshi Hikariin - in an act of vengeance in front of a folding screen. The beautiful circular device that decorates the screen in this print. This device is the Tokugawa’s clan crest, known in Japanese as a mon. The Tokugawa crest shown below is the triple hollyhock which actually belongs to the birthwort or wild ginger family, and has been a readily recognized icon in Japan for centuries, symbolizing in equal parts the Tokugawa clan and the last shogunate. The Tokugawa clan ruled Japan for nearly six hundred years until their collapse in 1868.


Amy Reigle Newland devoted a whole paragraph on page 18 to the significance of this series, i.e., Zen-aku sanjūroku bijin, at the beginning of her book on Kunichika: "Thirty-six good and evil beauties (Zen-aku sanjūroku bijin)... of 1876 is arguably one of Kunichika's most accomplished forays into bijinga. The quality of printing is superb. His treatment of the subject is fluid, the women portrayed energetic, wild, their poses at times reminiscent of those encountered in the work of earlier artists like Kuniyoshi and Kunisada, and in his own actor prints... Each sheet in Thirty-six good and evil beauties illustrates a famous woman from distant or more recent history with an explanatory cartouche above by a contemporary writer."


Condition: Margins as shown, very good condition, not backed.

Date: 1876