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Long Undergarment (Nagajuban)

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

Original caretaker of this artwork: artelino - Japanese prints  Art auctions of Japanese and Chinese 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)?Ishukankokai 遺珠刊行会
Medium (first edition): Woodblock
Medium (this edition): Woodblock
Format (first edition): Large Oban
Format (this edition): Large Oban
DB artwork code: 47343
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:

Thanks to the new owner, Umberto, and Artelino, for this entry.

A colour variant.

Three Aspects of Women - Long Undergarment (variant) - Nagajuban


Artist's seal.

Originally in 1929, this re-carved edition was made in 1980's.

Originally by Sakai-Kawaguchi. This re-carved edition was published by Ishu Kanko Kai.

Woodblock printtoyslocal_libraryapps

Ukiyo-e Size

Width Item
13.0 inches = 33.0 cm

Height Item
19.0 inches = 48.3 cm

Width Image
10.4 inches = 26.3 cm

Height Image
16.2 inches = 41.2 cm

Excellent - Very good … The round fan is embossed. Carver Watanabe Kazuo. Printer Yoshida Hideo.


Excellent - Very good.

Newland, Amy R.; and S. Hamanaka, "The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties", Leiden: Hotei, 2000, ISBN 90 74822 20 7, - Pg. 127, pl. 169-2

Reproduction. Rare Color Valiant.

From the series "Onna San-so" (Three Aspects of Woman). "Nagajuban" (Long Undergarment). This is a light blue collar, orange garment design version.
The flowing thin, black lines of the figure and the rhythmical baren movement on the abstract background showcased the fine carving and the masterful printing skills. The technique and the artistry in the woodblock print production were at the pinnacle in the early 20th century.
The alluring "bijin" (the beauty) prints in Shin Hanga period have been the highlight of Japanese woodblock print making tradition. Many of the originals from the period command the prices over $3000 today.

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.