The Lovers Miura-ya Komurasaki and Shirai Gonpachi., Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, ca. 1754–1806), Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper, Japan

実競色乃美名家見 三浦屋小紫 白井権八
The Lovers Miura-ya Komurasaki and Shirai Gonpachi.

Artist:
Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, ca. 1754–1806)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
probably 1797
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
15 x 9 15/32 in. (38.1 x 24.1 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1914
Accession Number:
JP153
Not on view
Tragic love stories taken from real life and dramatized were a staple of stage and print; the darkly romantic combination of desire and death was hugely popular in the eighteenth century. Hirai Gompachi was a warrior of the Tottori fief in western Japan who fled to Edo after committing a murder. He was apprehended and sentenced to death in 1679. His distraught lover, the courtesan Komurasaki, committed suicide at his grave.
Signature: Utamaro fude

Marking: Seal: kiwame
[ William S. and JohnT. Spaulding , Boston, until 1914; sold to MMA]