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Washing Clothes from the series Korean Life

Hiyoshi Mamoru (1885-?)

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Washing Clothes from the series Korean Life

by Hiyoshi Mamoru, c. 1950s

Nōga taikan, Semimaru
IHL Cat. #1685

About This Print

One of at least six prints in a series depicting various aspects of Korean life.  While published in the 1950s, the scenes are reminiscent of the time of the artist's residency in Korea from 1909 through the end of its colonization by Japan in 1945.  In this idyllic scene, women are washing or carrying laundry.  Isabella Bird, in writing about her visit to Korea at the end of the 19th century, painted a less idyllic picture, at least of clothes washing in Seoul, as follows: 

"She washes in this foul river, in the pond of the Mulberry Palace, in every wet ditch, and outside the walls in the few streams which exist.  Clothes are partially unpicked, boiled with lye three times, rolled into hard bundles, and pounded with heavy sticks on stones.  After being dried they are beaten with wooden sticks on cylinders, till they attain a polish resembling dull satin.  The women are slaves to the laundry, and the only sound which breaks the stillness of a Seoul night is the regular beat of their laundry sticks."1

Women washing laundry in stream, Korea (between 1890 and 1923)
Library of Congress Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-98336

1 Korea and Her Neighbours, Isabella Bird Bishop, John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1905, p. 43.

Print Details
 IHL Catalog #1685
 Title/Description Washing Clothes (note: this a descriptive title as print itself is untitled)
 Series Korean Life 韓国の生活 (series title also seen as 朝鮮風俗 "Korean Customs")
 Series title in Korean is 조선 풍속.
 Hiyoshi Mamoru (1885-?)
M. Hiyoshi in script printed in black ink
 Seal Mamoru 守 in seal script (see image above)
 Date original edition printed in 1952 according to the Korean National Folk Museum
 Edition later edition; first editions in this series are marked as such and dated to 1951-1952
Kyoto Hangain 版元 京都版画院 [Marks: pub. ref. 284; seal 25-485]
彫松田 hori Matsuda
摺市村 suri Ichimura
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - mounted in its original folder
 Genre shin hanga
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 10 7/16 x 15 9/16 in. (26.5 x 39.5 cm)
 H x W Image 9 5/16 x 14 3/16 in. (23.7 x 36 cm)
 Collections This Print National Folk Museum of Korea Collection No. 민속051019
 Reference Literature 
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