Toyokuni I, Bando Mitsugoro III as Daihanji no Kiyosumi

Utagawa Toyokuni I (1769-1825) Bando Mitsugoro III as Daihanji no Kiyosumi in the play Imoseyama Onna Teikin, 1818. Oban.

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This is a very good late Toyokuni, colour and design are so confidently handled and how strong is the T shaped device of the stiffened kimono, as is the composition that relies so heavily on the sinuous use of the left hand device to settle the active figure on the right - in this case the river, which hems Daihanji into his yellow ground.

The play Imoseyama Onna Teikin is a complex series of intrigues around a palace coup. The stage action takes place on the banks of a river, hence the torrent that Toyokuni has pictured here. Emiji, a Lord and pretender to the throne, attempts to blackmail and extort support from other families, even slashing his daughter in law to death in his determination. Daihanji, pictured here, forces Emiji to kill himself but is himself obliged to support Emiji’s son Iruka in his own plot to overthrow the Emperor.

The prints on this page show how the 'brocade print' - the nishiki-e - came to dominate the early part of the nineteenth century, but also how modest a brocade it was. These subtle pieces which used vegetable and other delicate colours had moved on little since their inception in the eighteenth century. The explosion in the technical mastery of the nineteenth century 'brocade' picture really begins with Kuniyoshi’s Suikoden prints of the mid 1820’s. The richness of the nineteenth century print though, probably owes more to the specialist and weathy coteries of Osaka collectors and the influence of that city’s artists than to anything else.

Full size, colour, impression and condition are all fine.

Published by Yamaguchiya Tobei (Kinkodo).

27cm x 35 cm.