Samurai watching women paddling in the Jewel River of Ide

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    Kubo shunman was a pupil of Kitao Shigemasa (1739-1820) and produced relaxed and elegant colour prints influenced by Kiyonaga. He was particularly adept at the use of muted colour schemes (benigirai) in the time when the government passed sumptuary regulations during the Tenmei and Kansei periods (1781-1800) forbidding the use of bright colours. 'The six jewel river' is one of the finest works by Shunman. The six rivers are all in different areas of Japan but Shunman’s six rivers from the Mutamagawa series is shown here as a continuous image. The collection of the Ashmolean Museum lacks the fifth image, that of Ogi of Shiga.

    This print is Ide no Tamagawa (the Jewel River of Ide). In what is probably the end of summer or early autumn, a young samurai is watching a beauty who is being helped by her maid to get into the river to paddle, while a servant ties together their zōri (sandals). The river is particularly known for its clear shallow waters and the abundant yamabuki (Japanese rose).

Glossary of terms

vegetable pigments

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