Hirosada, Kataoka Ichizo I in Keisei Somewake Tazuma

Konishi Hirosada (ca 1810 - 1864) Kataoka Ichizo I in Keisei Somewake Tazuma, 1854. Chuban Diptych.

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This wonderful and dramatic diptych by the great Osaka artist, Hirosada is from a kabuki drama, Keisei somewake tazuna ("A Courtesan's Reins Dyed in Different Colours"). The play was actually written, or in fact rewritten by the actor Nakamura Utaemon III in 1822. The story involves a shop owner and his older brother who stop conspirators from stealing the treasures of a wealthy landowning family, and features Sankichi, a tobacconist, who is the humble hero of the drama.

The play is of course, immensely complicated and very, very long. Kabuki 21 has the whole scenario for those that are interested! In this tremendous scene, the villain of the play, Saito Kuanosuke, uses his magical powers to conjure up a giant serpent. The staging of the play allowed for any number of very dramatic effects. In this production from 1854, Kataoka Ichizo plays Saito Kuranosuke  and Jitsukawa Enzaburo I plays the tobaconist, Tabakoya Sankichi.

For another version of this scene, see the print by Hironobu in the MFA Boston.

A tremendous print, the two sheets unbacked. Colour, condition and impression all fine.

Published by Kinkado.

36 x 25 cm.