Hirosada, Nakamura Tomozo as Hirayama Mushadokoro in Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki

Konishi Hirosada (ca 1810 - 1864)  Nakamura Tomozo as Hirayama Mushadokoro in the play Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki, 1850. Deluxe Chuban Diptych.

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This wonderful diptych is enriched with outstandingly beautiful colours, metallic inks, overprinting and the subtlest of printing devices… note the barely visible tree shapes in the background that only appear when the print is turned to the light. It is a printing and design masterpiece, a jewel of a thing that is complete, untrammelled by history or degradation and unusually, the print is unbacked and as clean as the day that it was made.

The print illustrates a scene from one of kabuki theatre’s most tragic plays… Ichi-no-Tani Futaba Gunki. On the right is the cowardly anti-hero Hirayama Mushadokoro played by Nakamura Tomozō. He is responsible for the capture of the young Kojiro by the enemy Heike clan from which event unfolds a series of encounters that culminate in the warrior Kumagai, on the left of the print, being obliged to execute his own son at the behest of Hirayama who is seated on the horse. The plot and the fatal obligations of honour are hard to trace at this distance but the play is excellently summarised on the site, kabuki21. Hirosada shows the cowardly and sneering Hirayama and the honourable Kumagai facing each other on the beach in the dark.

The two chuban sheets are joined, the prints are unbacked and the colour, impression and condition are all very fine.

37 x 25 cm.