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Tokinari (active during Bunka era, 1804-1817) 時成

‘Three Bijin’

Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
89.8 x 39.8 cm. (35 3/8 x 15 3/4 in.)

‘In the Eastern Capital (Edo), painted by Tokinari, called Furyuan.’

Artist’s seals:
Toki; nari

Colophon by Ota Nanpo (1749-1823):
‘On Musashino Terrace (on the outskirts of Edo), how does a blade of grass appear?
And if seen in splendid Kyoto? Or in cultured Naniwa (Osaka)?
Composed and inscribed by Shoku-sanjin.’

(See writeup below.)

Three beautiful ladies display a variety of striking coiffeurs held in place by complex and complicated combs. Their kimonos are equally variegated, with colors, textures, and patterns serving to create contrasts with great visual interest. The postures and orientation of the figures unifies them in an oval composition imbued with both tension and balance, a masterful performance that identifies the artist as a master of his craft.

Tokinari, active during the Bunka era of 1804-18 and called Furyuan, ‘Studio with wind in the willows,’ lived and worked in Edo where he specialized in painting bijin, as here. He is said to have been influenced by the style of Kikugawa Eizan (1787-1867), a contemporary ukiyo-e painter and printmaker in Edo who also specialized in bijinga. Ota Nanpo was born in Edo and served the Tokugawa Shogunate as a lower ranking samurai. He was also a poet closely associated with the ukiyo-e movement. He was celebrated for his comic and satirical poems, which often embrace a wide range of meanings.

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