After the Bath

A woman who just got out of a public bath is crossing a bridge and trying to protect herself with an umbrella from the wind and rain of a sudden yûdachi. She uses one hand to keep her kimono decorated with fishing net and sea anemone patterns from flying open, and carries a soap pouch in her mouth. Three swallows fly above. The title, yu agari ("after the bath") is inscribed in the lower left hand corner of the print, just above a seal with the artist's name, Hiroaki.
Takahashi Hiroaki
One of the delights of summer in Japan is the phenomenon of yûdachi, sudden squalls that rise in the evening, bringing welcome relief from the intense heat of day. In this evocative scene, a woman who just got out of a public bath is trying to protect herself from wind and rain with an umbrella. Other clues to the season are swallows in the sky (associated with summer in Japan) and fishing net and sea anemone patterns in the woman’s kimono. Takahashi Hiroaki created many prints for export to Europe and America. In this print, he adopted the overall composition from one of Andô Hiroshige’s prints, but he has subtly heightened the erotic flavor by making the woman both more vulnerable to the elements and lovely by conventional western standards.
Gift of Millard Pryor in Memory of Mary S. Pryor
Sunday, December 16, 2018