Utagawa Kunisada II (1823 - 1880) A Scene from Yanagi ni Kaze Fuki ya no Itosuji, Oban Triptych.
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An outstanding triptych of the dance drama, Yanagi ni Kaze Fuki ya no Itosuji by Kunisada II. His earliest known prints date to 1844. Kunisada I adopted him in 1846 after he married the master's daughter Osuzu. He took the name Kunsada II c. 1850–51, about the time he inherited the house of Kunisada I. He changed his name once more following his master's death, to Toyokuni III. However, since there were three artists called Toyokuni before him, Kunisada II is now often known as Toyokuni IV… all of which is very confusing. He is probably one of the most accomplished of Kunisada’s followers, with the exception of Kunichika and Yoshitoshi. This piece is so in the elder Kunisada’s style as to be almost indistinguishable in feel.
It seems extraordinary, this scene, with that provocative giant mooli on the right hand sheet and that incredible demon appearing in a thunder cloud on the left. It’s quite impossible to decipher the piece fully, however some things can be seen. The left sheet is the only known survivor of this very great piece. A copy of the left sheet only is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, it shows Actors Seki Sanjuro III as the Priest Genno (Genno osho), actually a Raccoon-dog (Tanuki), and Ichimura Kakitsu IV as a Thunder God. The right hand sheet depicts one of the seven lucky gods, Daikokuten, with his fortuitous mallet and the unmissable radish with which he is associated (by name - the Japanese for mooli is also daikon). Bishamon is the thunder God who hovers in the left side.
We have shown another version of Yanagi ni Kaze Fuki ya no Itosuji, by Kunichika, rather busier though, than this one! This is a superb print… so striking and arresting. Rare indeed, only the left hand sheet is known, and by a very eminent print maker. Colour, condition and impression are all fine.
75 x 36 cm.