Item from the Mokuhankan Flea Market

Hour of the Ox (2am)

Size: 39.5cm by 27.0cm (15.55 in by 10.63 in) | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [L] ?

Designer: Kitagawa Utamaro

Era: Post-war | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: ¥ 8,000$ 76.00£ 56.75€ 63.75 [Item has been sold]

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Description: This print, titled "The Hour of the Ox (Ushi no koku)", is from the series "The Twelve Hours in the Yoshiwara" (Seirô jûni toki tsuzuki) by Utamaro.

"Ever keen to show supposedly 'private' moments in the lives of his female subjects, Utamaro's project with this series was to show a typical day and night in the life of a high-ranked courtesan of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter. The series title is written between the hanging weights of a stylised lantern clock and the zodiacal name of the time of day (or night), at roughly two-hour intervals, is written on the bell" (quoted from the British Museum website).

"The Hour of the Ox is about 2 am. The courtesan has got out of bed to go to the toilet. Carrying a lighted taper and a roll of tissue, she sleepily puts on her slippers. Hanging over the screen to the left are an amulet bag on a string and a towel" (ibid.).

The skill of the carver and printer can be seen in the delicate hairline of the courtesan.

The flecks of metallic pigment used in the print have oxidised a little.

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