Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) Actors Nakamura Tsuruzô I as Ryoshi Ganzo, Seki Sanjûrô III as Yokoyama Daizo and Nakamura Utaemon IV as Otaka Tonomo in Takagi oriemon budo jitsu roku, 1848. Oban Diptych.
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A classically gory Kuniyoshi, a rare print of a frustratingly common subject of which there seems to be little or no information. The scene is from a play that was seemingly popular in the late 1840’s, judging from the several well known prints made by Kuniyoshi and Kunisada.
The play concerns ritual self sacrifice, suicide, murder and religion. Three figures, the central one a fisherman, argue over a scroll of the deity Daruma. In the background a festival and a night scene. The figure of Utaemon on the right is covered in the blood of a victim of suicide whom he has assisted.
I cannot find the plot of the play itself and there seems to be only one other known copy of the print, although other treatments of the subject exist.
An outstanding Kuniyoshi, colour and condition and impression are all fine.
Published by Sano-ya Kihei.
35.5 x 50.5 cm.