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Availability: 1 available

Artist: Utamaro Kitagawa
Title: Physiognomist's View of Oshun, Wife of Dembei

Date: originally published c. 1790s by Tsutaya Juzaburo, this (c. 1950s) published by Adachi with publisher's seal on verso
Size: oban, approximately 10" x 15"
Condition: VG, minor flaws as shown
Impression: VG, excellent reproduction with attention to details, solid key lines and nice surface texture
Color: VG, with bleed through to verso
About this print:

Physiognomy is the art of judging a person's character from the features of their face, and Utamaro's portrait of Oshun is therefore an interpretative one, not merely a portrait. The print shows the head and shoulders of the young woman, her head turned to the left, and she is holding a tie-dyed towel decorated with two small hairpins that is tied with ribbon around the top of her head. A few straggling wisps of hair fall down at the right. There is a slight asymmetry to the lower part of her face -- in the nose, mouth and chin -- which gives her special character. The expression on her face is a thoughtful one, but the key to the portrait is the subtle air of melancholy that pervades the composition.