Torii Kiyonaga
Hagi Viewing (in front of the Teahouse in Hagi Garden)

Signed: Kiyonaga ga; ōban, 35.0 x 25.0 cm; nishiki-e and gomazuri

From the series “Fashionable Eastern Brocade”. This is the left sheet of a diptych. A young samurai is sitting on a bench in Hagi Garden. His child-like servant is pointing to a group of three women depicted in the missing print on the right. A server next to the two of them is also looking to the right. Behind them are two blossoming hagi bushes (bush clover). The Hagi Garden was in the Jiunzan Ryūgenji Temple, to the east of Edo. It was first planted in 1766 and attracted hordes of visitors in the autumn.

Provenance: Hettie Rhoda Meade (Sotheby’s, London, March 1961)
Riese Collection #59

The young man is visiting Hagidera, the “Bush Clover Temple” to view these flowers in the fall. In the panel to the right which completes the diptych, three women are also viewing the flowers, while noticing the samurai. This print is exceptional for its colour. In most prints of the 18th century, the blue on the waitress’ apron and the purple on the young man’s skirt have altered irreversibly to shades of buff and brown, but here the colours are unfaded, as they appeared in Kiyonaga’s day.

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogue, no. 48.