Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper; Benizuri-e; small print (hosoban)
12 7/32 x 5 1/2 in. (31.1 x 14.0 cm)
The Francis Lathrop Collection, Purchase, Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, 1911
Not on view
Before inventing the brocade print (nishiki-e) around 1765–66, Harunobu made traditional color prints known as benizuri-e, literally "red-printed pictures." They were usually printed in two colors: red and green or red and yellow. The fresh yellow color in this print was probably added later after the original color had faded away. The theme of the Seven Episodes of Komachi, the ninth-century poet who was famed for her beauty and wit, already had an established pictorial convention. Here, Harunobu interprets this classical theme in a contemporary genre scene. The rectangular cartouche at the upper right gives the series title and the print's complete title Shimizu (Kiyomizu) Temple in Kyoto; the overlapping square cartouche contains a poem and an illustration of waterfalls at the temple. The poem reads: For what reason should you remove your sash or conduct yourself heedlessly? The beauty of the waterfall is unchanging.