Kunisada, Onnagata

Utagawa Kunisada/Toyokuni III (1786-1865) Onnagata, 1860’s. Oban.

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In near mint condition, this print shows a marked contrast in design to the previous piece. The actor here is playing the part of a woman - there were no female kabuki actors. Here, the gesture of the actor is flamboyant and unrestrained; he gazes out of the picture at the viewer, his eyebrows are raised and alert, his mouth parted. A supernatural flame - a signifier of a mystical scene - hovers over the character’s head and in his left hand he holds a roll of tissue which is a signifier of sexual liaison or availability.

This fine print uses an exquisite palette of colours; there is something brooding about the heavy blues of the background against the muted and warmer shades of the kimono. This is a very fine early impression with very delicate and fresh woodgrain across the whole of the background. Condition, colour and impression are all fine. Full size with margins.

36.8 x 26.6 cm.