Kunichika, Chushingura (act 11)

Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900)  Chushingura (act 11). 1884. Oban Triptych. 

A stunning print of the famous revenge tragedy Chushingura. An exceptional early printing, with dominating woodgrain in the sky. Kunichika represents a scene from the storming of Moronao’s compound. This is perhaps the most famous drama of kabuki theatre and the central characters are still revered today at their shrine and in films, books, plays and cartoons. The story revolves around the suicide of Enya Hangan  in 1701, forced to draw his sword in the Shogun’s palace by the goading  of the courtier Moronao. Hangan is obliged to commit suicide for the offence and his retainers become Ronin, leaderless samurai. They vow revenge and the play revolves around their plotting and preparation, culminating in act 11, the storming of Moronao’s house and his eventual assassination.

Kunichika shows a scene from the kabuki play, with Ichikawa Sadanji as the Ronin Takebayashi Tadashichi on the left and Onoe Kikugoro as the Ronin Akagaki Genzo on the right attacking Moronao’s retainer Kobayashi Heihachiro played by Ichikawa Danjuro.

An exceptional print powerfully realised. The print is full sized not attached at the seams and lightly backed. A strong early impression with exceptional woodgrain to the sky. Colour very good and unfaded and the condition is excellent. Burnishing to the blacks of the uniforms and very good shading to the water in the middle distance.

705 x 350 cm.