Fukagawa in Snow

深川の雪- Fukagawa in Snow
Kitagawa Utamaro

Perhaps the most famous piece featuring Fukagawa geisha, Fukagawa in Snow is a massive woodblock print depicting over twenty women amidst a teahouse in winter. The artist, Kitagawa Utamaro, was quite famous for many of his works. Over the course of his life he reportedly created over 2,000 pieces, many with a focus on geisha and women in general. The whole piece is a towering two meters high and three meters across that showcases Utamaro’s attention to detail. Although the piece has widely been praised for it’s complexity and sheer size, much of it’s fame today is due its disappearance for over 60 years. It’s estimated that Utamaro originally created the piece sometime between 1801 and 1804, near the end of his life as part of a triptych: Snow, Moon, and Flowers, though the first record of the three prints being shown together was in 1879 in an exhibition in Tochigi. After enjoying attention at exhibitions from across Japan and even Paris, Fukagawa in Snow went missing 1952. It wasn’t until 2012 when the piece was rediscovered, and sold to Okada museum. There is still practically no information concerning the circumstances under which the print disappeared or was found, but that hasn’t stopped a multitude of articles from being published about the gigantic masterpiece that resurfaced out of the blue. Fukagawa in Snow’s esteem and intriguing history make it one of the most famous wood prints to feature Fukagawa geisha in the world of Japanese art.

References:

“OKADA MUSEUM OF ART.” Rediscovery of Kitagawa Utamaro Fukagawa in the Snow | Exhibition|OKADA MUSEUM OF ART|, www.okada-museum.com/en/exhibition/archives/47.

“11 Oddities About Utamaro, The Mysterious Ukiyoe Master.” Savvy Tokyo, 30 Mar. 2017, savvytokyo.com/11-oddities-utamaro-mysterious-ukiyoe-master/.

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