Kunichika, Onoe Kikugoro V and Cherry Blossom

Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900)  Onoe Kikugoro V and Cherry Blossom, 1870’s. Oban.

This is a lovely spring picture of cherry blossom against a night sky with the famous kabuki actor Onoe Kikugoro V in the role of Princess Yaegaki, the heroine in the tale Honcho Nijushiko, a story of the feuding Takeda and Uesugi families in the mid-sixteenth century. Like Romeo and Juliet, Yaegaki, daughter of the Uesugi, is in love with Katsuyori, son and heir of the rival Takeda family. Following the assassination of the Shogun, the families cease their feuding but the lovers are doomed, escaping across a frozen lake with a magic helmet.

Kunichika returned to the same scene in a similar print of 1894. This is a mint condition print of great beauty and strength. Original colour is very good as is the impression, with strong visible woodgrain, and the near perfect condition.