Torii Kiyohiro
Three Street Vendors Selling Goods for Autumn
c. 1750

Publisher’s seal: Tōriabura-chō and yama maruko han (Maruya Kohei); Printed together for individual sale, 3 hosoban, 30.6 x 43.9 cm; benizuri-e

On the right a young vendor of cricket cages turns to a young woman with a cage and round fans. The middle print shows a woman selling autumn flowers from baskets suspended from a pole. A young man with a sword is promenading in front of her. On the left is a lantern seller, a scene commented upon in a poem: “The lantern / turns on a wheel / like lies in a love letter.”

Provenance: Henri Vever (Sotheby’s, March 1975); R.E.Lewis, San Francisco (1975)
Riese Collection #17

The young man at the right is an insect seller, the young woman at the centre sells flowers, and the youth at the left sells lanterns. Each design is accompanied by a poem.

The insect seller’s poem:

koi wa hotaru no
hikari kana

However I conceal
My love is a light
Like the firefly.

The flower seller’s poem:

Koikaze ya
ho ni arawaruru
ito suzuki

The wind of love
Shows itself on the tuft
Of the pampas grass.

The lantern seller’s poem:

Tōrō wa
kuruwa ni tsuman
fumi no uso

The magic lantern
Spins on the wheel
Like lies in a loveletter

The print, a brilliant example of a benizuri-e, or two colour print in red and green, is unique.