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Long Undergarment (Nagajuban)

Long Undergarment (Nagajuban) 長襦袢
by Torii Kotondo (1900-1976)

Original caretaker of this artwork: Castle Fine Arts  Specializing in fine 18th-20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints.

The artworks displayed on JAODB are not for sale.

Artist: Torii Kotondo (1900-1976) 鳥居言人
Title: Long Undergarment (Nagajuban) 長襦袢
Date of first edition?1929/7
Publisher (first edition)?Sakai and Kawaguchi 酒井川口
Publisher (this edition)?Sakai and Kawaguchi 酒井川口
Medium (first edition): Woodblock
Medium (this edition): Woodblock
Format (first edition): Large Oban
Format (this edition): Large Oban
DB artwork code: 45183
Notes (first edition)?
Artist: Torii Kotondo (1900-1976)
Signed: Kotondo saku.
Size: 408 x 261mm (image size).
Editions: 200 (S&K export edition), 300 (S&K domestic edition), 300 (Kawaguchi, with embossed edition cartouche on the verso).

Dated and signed Showa yonen shichigatsu (Showa 4 [1929], 7th month) Kotondo ga, with artist's seal Torii. The title, Nagajuban, embossed at centre of lower margin. Published by Kawaguchi and Sakai. The publisher's seals Sakai Kawaguchi go ban (joint venture) embossed at lower left corner. With limited edition paper label hand-numbered on verso, Gaikoku yuki ni-hyaku mai kagiri zeppan, dai xx go, Torii Kotondo (for foreign export, limited edition of 200 printed, number xx, by Torii Kotondo) with artist's red circular seal Kotondo.

Description: Nagajuban, or "Long Undergarment." This print exists with several colour variations. Here, the swirling marks left purposefully by the printer's baren in the gray background provide a strong textural counterpart to the brilliant red pattern in the robe.

Notes from Ross:
My analysis suggests Sakai/Kawaguchi sold this scene until around edition 130, then passed the remaining stock to Kawaguchi, some with edition labels already attached. 2012: Editon 137 with Sakai/Kawaguchi seals and editioning was sold by Kawaguchi to an American collector before 1936 (collection came to America in 1935), so the transfer of stock to Kawaguchi occurred before edition 137 for the first edition of this scene.

I am not yet convinced there are more than two colour variants. It is possible that most scenes that are suggested to be colour variants simply have faded colours. The blue inks are especially affect. If you have a colour variant not listed in JAODB please email me an image.

In the 1970's Ishukankokai republished twelve Kotondo scenes, but this scene was not included in that series. However, very rare examples of this scene published by Ishukankokai do exist, in two colour states. It would appear that these were issued in a smaller series called "Three Aspects of Women" (Onna San-so).
Notes (this edition)?
The following information was taken from the original web listing of this artwork. Note that there may be some inaccuracies:

Catalog ID 9032
Artist Torii Kotondo
Title "Nagajuban" (Long Undergarment)
Medium Original, Limited Edition Japanese Woodblock Print
Series Title Beauties
Edition 139/200
Date 1929
Publisher Sakai/Kawaguchi
Reference No Female Image # 169-1
Size 18 -1/4 x 11 -1/2 " (sheet)
Condition Near fine. Faint toning on her right ankle; creases in top and bottom margin. The sheet is slightly larger than the scan; uncut, with deckled top margin.

Notes: Embossed title in the lower margin reads: "Nagajuban".

Dated and signed middle right: "Showa 4" (1929), followed by the circular artist's seal reading: "Kotondo".

Embossed seal of joint publishers Sakai and Kawaguchi in lower left margin.

Limitation number on the reverse.

PROVENANCE: An American family collection, by descent from their Grandfather who purchased the print directly from the Kawaguchi publishing firm, about 1930. The collection has been in America since 1935; carefully preserved; never matted or framed

Artist Bio: 
Torii Kotondo (or Torii Kiyotada VIII) is renowned for his paintings and shin hanga prints of beautiful women. His woodblock prints, superbly carved and printed, are comparable with those of Hashiguchi Goyo and Ito Shinsui. Kotondo was born with the name Saito Akira in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. He was the only son among the five children of Torii Kiyotada, the seventh Torii master. The Torii school had a long tradition of painting and printmaking for the Japanese theater, extending back to the seventeenth century. Kabuki theater was still very popular in the early twentieth century and prints and painted posters were the primary means of publicity. Although Kotondo was mainly interested in studying history and archaeology, it was assumed that he would follow in his father's footsteps and join the Torii school. At age 14, Kotondo agreed to leave school and begin studies with Kobori Tomone, a yamato-e painter. Along with painting classes, Tomone taught Kotondo about the court and military practices of ancient Japan, satisfying his interest in history. A year later, he was officially adopted as the next heir of the Torii school and assumed the artist's name 'Kotondo'. While still studying with Tomone, he began designing illustrations for a theatrical magazine, Engei Gaho ('Entertainment Illustrated Magazine'), and painted kabuki posters and billboards.

Torii Kotondo was the 8th Torii and the 5th Torii Kiyotada. His father was the 4th Kiyotada.

The artworks displayed on JAODB are not for sale.

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Site copyright: Dr Ross F. Walker. Copyright of the displayed artwork: the original owner. The information contained on this website is provided as an educational resource to scholars and collectors of Japanese art. JAODB would like to thank the caretakers of these art items for their contribution to this database. The items displayed here are not being offered for sale. Unless otherwise indicated the displayed item is not in the ownership of JAODB or Ross Walker.