Yoshitaki, Fujikawa Tomokichi III as Hatsuhana in Hanafubuki Hakone no Akebono

Utagawa Yoshitaki (1841 - 1899) Fujikawa Tomokichi III as Hatsuhana in Hanafubuki Hakone no Akebono, 1862. Deluxe Chuban triptych.

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A superb quality triptych by Yoshitaki. The print brims with every sophistication… deep heavy pigmented colours, embossing, sprinkled mica and specialist metallic inks. The prints are in mint condition, unbacked and intact. A really, really fine design.

The scene depicted was adapted first to the puppet (bunraku) stage and then to the kabuki theatre. It tells the story of Hatsuhana and her husband Katsugoro. Katsugoro’s brother has been killed by the arch-villain Sato Gosuke. They decide to seek vengeance but Katsugoro falls sick on the road and loses the use of his legs. Hatsuhana pulls him the remainder of the way in the homemade cart. They confront Gosuke who has also taken Hatsuhana’s mother as hostage. Unable to fight, Katsugoro is ridiculed by the evil Gosuke. Katsugoro sees his wife praying for a miracle at waterfall shrine nearby but the following morning discovers that she has been beheaded by Gosuke (along with her mother) for resisting his advances. Katsugoro, miraculously restored to health, realises it was his wife’s ghost he saw praying at he waterfall, constant even in death.

This stunning image shows Fujikawa Tomokichi III as Hatsuhana (right panel)and  Jitsukawa Ensaburo as Katsugoro (center panel); the unidentified figures in the left panel are carrying the trolley that Hatsuhana had been dragging Katsugoro along with. A beautiful design with every sophistication. Superb shomen-zuri, burnishing of leaves to Katsugoro's robe and of fans to Hatsuhana's robe. Mica sprinkled to the background and rich double printing throughout. A particularly outstanding Yoshitaki. Colour, impression and condition are outstanding.  Unbacked. A copy of the print (rare) is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and that print has the same flaws in the blocks leaving some of the background to the leaves unprinted.

Published by Nishio Tomimura. 

54 x 25 cm.

£320.00