VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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The Beautiful Ofuji of Yanagi-ya/ Yōjiya musume. Sumirena; from the series: Elegant Beauties Compared to Flowers/Ukiyo bijin hana-ni yosu
MNK VI-4388
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The inventor of the colour woodblock print technique presents in one of his early prints both a text in a balloon, hovering over the scene, and a picture within a picture. The girl is looking at the portrait of her rival Osen, another famous beauty in Edo. In front of a toothpick shop yoji 0ya, called Yanagi-ya, lie characteristic ginkgo leaves which have given Ofuji her nickname Icho-musume -'ginkgo girl'. The author goes into his metaphors even further, adding in the ballooned text that 'if the girl were compared to flowers, the sleeves of her kimono would take on the colour of violets' (Jap. sumire-violet). It is traditionally understood that the youth sitting on the balcony next to Ofuji is Harunobu himself.

History of the Object
Although in Feliks Jasieński’s collection of books, which is presently in the custody of the Cracow Museum, there are numerous auction catalogues, among which are catalogues of the Barboutau, Bing, Burty, Gillot and Hayashi collections, it is impossible to associate them with specific works of the Jasieński collection on the basis of short descriptions of individual items.

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Type
Print 
Materials
Colour woodblock print on paper, nishiki-e 
Measurements
chuban size 
Creator name
Suzuki Harunobu 
Creator date
1724-1770 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
18th Century; 1769 
Function
art work 
Acquisition
It was donated in 1920 by Feliks Jasieński (1861-1929). He was a Polish collector, connoisseur, critic and music lover, and outstanding personality. His interests in art and music, as well as his personal intellectual and social qualities, brought him close to the artistic elite of Paris, the capital of art. He donated about 15,000 art objects from the Far and Middle East, Poland and other European countries to the National Museum in Cracow. Japanese art was represented by approximately 6,500 items, including paintings, sculptures, fabrics, kimonos, obi sashes, lacquerware, ceramics, enamelware, bronzes, dyeing stencils, decorative arts objects, arms and armours. The widest range of 5,000 objects was provided by the most valuable and consistent group of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints which were Jasienski’s first and probably strongest fascination. 
Copyright
The National Museum in Krakow 
Acknowledgements
Beata Romanowicz, Curator of the Far Eastern Art Department, The National Museum in Cracow and Zofia Maria Alber(1924-1999), Former Head Curator of the Far Eastern Art Department, The National Museum in Cracow 
Owner
The National Museum in Krakow 
Museum
The National Museum in Krakow 
Credit line
 
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