あらはるる恋 (Obvious Love)

Designer: Kitagawa Utamaro | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Suri Taro

Paper size: 39cm by 25cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [L] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 135.00£ 99.75€ 110.00

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Description: In the 1780's and 90's the publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo and the designer Kitagawa Utamaro worked together on the production of many woodblock prints, most of them of the bijin-ga type. One of their most popular productions was a set of images that purported to depict psychological classifications of women - 'fickle', 'interesting', etc.. Perhaps in response to this success, they then came up with something similar - a set of prints entitled Kasen Koi no Bu ('Anthology of Poems: Love Chapter'), in which we meet five women drawn to depict various types of love. The five prints are titled: Reflective Love, Deeply Hidden Love, Love that Meets Each Night, Obvious Love, and Love that Rarely Meets. This print is the fourth one from the set, where the Japanese title Arawaruru Koi perhaps implies love that is 'obvious' in the sense that it can no longer be concealed ...

The block set for this Mokuhankan edition was originally carved by Dave for inclusion in the series he produced back in 2004 - ‘Beauties of Four Seasons’, in which he selected images from four different eras to depict the passing of the seasons; this print was of course the summer image. The print here was printed from those blocks - which are still in excellent condition - by the Mokuhankan staff printers.

The print is a master class in the techniques of classical Japanese printmaking - the subtle layering of the various gradations in her clothing, the wonderful challenge of carving and printing the double layer of delicate hairlines, the beautiful pink mica cloud against which she is posed ... and most of all, in its quiet elegance.

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For those who have an interest, there is a section buried deep in Dave’s website where he discusses the ‘psychological’ aspects of this image, and where you can try a quiz to test your level of understanding of Utamaro’s thoughts ...

 

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