Isoda Koryūsai (attributed to or sc
Calendar Print with Bijin and Bowl with Adonis

Signed: Tenmei san ga (designed in the 3rd year of Tenmei Era); egoyomi, koban, 15.7 x 10.6 cm; benizuri-e with karazuri; Date stamp: mizunoto u (cyclical sign for the year 1783)

A beauty dressed in festive clothing is wearing a violet cloak with the symbol dai (big) visible as a mon on the sleeve and back. This symbol stands for the “big ones”, i.e. the long months of the year, the numbers of which decorate the lower part of the cloak. On the right is a porcelain dish with Adonis roses, with the numbers for the short months of the year 1783 on the edge.

Provenance: Bing; F. Tikotin; Janette Ostier, Paris (January 1963)
Riese Collection #35

This and other small calendar prints in the collection are from a remarkable group which was assembled by a Japanese enthusiast and eventually found its way to Europe. Many of the hundreds of small calendar prints in this collection were severely damaged by wormholes. Virtually all of them seem to be unique, the only remaining record of the importance of this diminutive and fragile form of woodblock print. Most of the calendar prints of the last quarter of the 18th century are unsigned. This print has been attributed to Koryūsai, but since Koryūsai had practically given up print design by 1783, it is safer to attribute it to a follower of Koryusai’s successor, Kizonaga. The short months are inscribed on the bowl, the long months in the pattern on the courtesan’s kimono.

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogue, no. 45c.