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Bijin on the Ryōgoku Bridge, and on a Pleasure Craft on the River

Identifier: 1920 Goyo Utamaro bridge

Laurence Binyon wrote in Japanese Colour Prints in 1906 on page 128 about the full, oroginal composition by Utamaro: "In his unique six-sheet composition of "The Bridge" the figures are tall and slender, but with no wasp-like contractions. There is only one other instance known of a six-sheet composition formed of two triptychs placed, not side by side, but one above the other, and that is a view of a theatre interior, and the audience, by Toyokuni."


Speaking of the top half of this composition - in the original form - in Japanese Prints: Ukiyo-e in Edo, 1700-1900 on page 75: "This triptych forms the top half of a six-sheet composition, which is unprecedented in terms of its size and complexity (the lower triptych shows women in boats beneath the bridge). Utamaro has created an animated frieze of women strolling across the bridge in the cool of the evening. They are subtly differentiated by class, left to right: three maids from a samurai mansion, mothers of the townsman class with their children, and three young women from the pleasure quarters."

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