Kitagawa Utamaro
Hasseji and Kasumino of the Ebiya

Signed: Utamaro hitsu; Publisher’s seal: Mura (Murataya Jirōbei); hashira-e, 63.3 x 15.0 cm; nishiki-e with karazuri and shōmenzuri

This hashira-e is striking due to the freshness of the colours and the clarity of the print. There is only one other print of this design, in the British Museum. Presumably, Utamaro only designing such pillar pictures after the death of the publisher Tsutaya (1797). Unlike Kiyonaga and Eishi, who mainly presented whole figures in this format, often in pairs, Utamaro moves the faces in much closer to the viewer.

Tadamasa Hayashi; Wagner; F. Tikotin, La Tour de Peilz (1966)
Riese Collection #77

This print is remarkable for the freshness of its colour and the clarity of its engraving – even the letter the seated courtesan is writing is legible. Like most prints in the pillar format, the design is rare, only one other impression, in the British Museum being apparently known.
Three other designs of pairs of courtesans published by Murataya in this wide pillar format have been recorded.

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogue, no. 60b.