What is Kasen Koi no Bu

Kasen Koi no Bu (歌撰恋之部, “Anthology of Poems: The Love Section”) is a series of five ukiyo-e prints designed by the Japanese artist Utamaro and published c. 1793–94.

Ukiyo-e art flourished in Japan during the Edo period from the 17th to 19th centuries, and took as its primary subjects courtesans, kabuki actors, and others associated with the “floating world” lifestyle of the pleasure districts. Alongside paintings, mass-produced woodblock prints were a major form of the genre. In the mid-18th century full-colour nishiki-e prints became common, printed using a large number of woodblocks, one for each colour.A prominent genre was bijin-ga (“pictures of beauties”), which depicted most often courtesans and geisha at leisure, and promoted the entertainments of the pleasure districts.

Kitagawa Utamaro (c. 1753–1806) made his name in the 1790s with his bijin ōkubi-e (“large-headed pictures of beautiful women”) portraits, focusing on the head and upper torso, a style others had previously employed in portraits of kabuki actors.Utamaro experimented with line, colour, and printing techniques to bring out subtle differences in the features, expressions, and backdrops of subjects from a wide variety of class and background. Utamaro’s individuated beauties were in sharp contrast to the stereotyped, idealized images that had been the norm

 

Mare ni Au Koi

The woman in Mare ni Au Koi (, “love that rarely meets”) appears quite young and sheltered; she is probably in her teens. She wears an ornate kushi-kanzashi comb-shaped hairpin and bashfully sticks her fingers just barely from the sleeve of her kimono. The title refers not to a woman who rarely meets her lover, but to a shy young woman inexperienced in love, and her expression is the most withdrawn in the series.

 

The woman in Mare ni Au Koi (, “love that rarely meets”) appears quite young and sheltered; she is probably in her teens. She wears an ornate kushi-kanzashi comb-shaped hairpin and bashfully sticks her fingers just barely from the sleeve of her kimono. The title refers not to a woman who rarely meets her lover, but to a shy young woman inexperienced in love, and her expression is the most withdrawn in the series.[6]

Mono-omoi Koi

The woman in Mono-omoi Koi (物思恋, “reflective love” or “anxious love”) has her eyebrows shaved—sign of a married woman.She appears to be the eldest in the series—perhaps even middle-aged—and to come from an affluent background. She wears an elegant, subdued kimono with a pattern of plovers.

The woman rests her right cheek lightly on the back of her right hand and narrows her eyes in thought. In line with the theme of the series, she must be pondering love—perhaps an illegitimate lover or old memories of love. Some consider it the finest example from the series, and others suggest the picture pairs with Fukaku Shinobu Koi.

Fukaku Shinobu Koi

The woman in Fukaku Shinobu Koi (深く忍恋, “deeply hidden love”) has blackened her teeth with ohaguro, which normally signifies a married woman, but she lacks the shaved eyebrows that would also signify her being married; she is perhaps yet young and recently married. Her ornate kanzashi hairpin has a flower design on it. She looks down and holds a kiseru tobacco pipe in her right hand. The title suggests she may be pondering a risky affair. Utamaro uses a limited number of colours in the print; the deep blacks of the protective collar around her kimono and her large, rounded hairstyle draws the attention, contrasting with the white of the woman’s face and nape of her neck.

In 2016 Fukaku Shinobu Koi set the record price for an ukiyo-e print sold at auction at 7005745000000000000♠745000.

Arawaruru Koi

Arawaruru Koi (あらはるる恋, “obvious love”) presents the most openly sensual print in the series. The plump, sensual woman seems to care little that her kimono is open, exposing a breast. Her hairdo is in disarray, the kanzashi hairpin at the front about to fall off, and she holds one of the hairpins in her left hand. She appears to be looking down outside the frame of the print, perhaps in mid-conversation. The term arawaruru koi refers to a love so wholehearted that it expresses itself in the subject’s face and mannerisms.

Yogoto ni Au Koi

The woman in Yogoto ni Au Koi (夜毎ニ逢恋, “love that meets each night”) raises her eyes in delight as she holds a letter out from the breast pocket of her kimono. The title suggests it is from a lover, perhaps calling her to another of their nightly trysts. Utamaro gives his subject a noble air and features pays close attention to realistic details of her face, such as the shape of her eyebrows and loose hairs straggling about.

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