Sadamasu, Kataoka Ichizo as Mitsuhide Akechi

Utagawa Sadamasu (active 1834 - 1854) Kataoka Ichizo as Mitsuhide Akechi, c1841. Deluxe Chuban.

This very fine and distinctive chuban portrait is by the Osaka School artist Utagawa Sadamasu. As with so many Osaka artists, little is known about him other than his active period and the legacy of his quite superb prints. Typical of these mid-century Osaka prints, the block carving, printing and lavishness of production are peerless and outstrip the works of the Edo artists of the same period. The print is unbacked on thick paper with many of the details lacquered and burnished. The drawing and the expressive use of pattern is  massively engaging, but it is the extraordinary character study that catches the eye here and especially the bold, decisive brushwork.

Mitsuhide was an actual historical character and well known for his betrayal of the powerful war lord Oda Nobunaga in 1579. Nobunaga was a wily and successful daimyo who promoted Mitsuhide who later turned on his master and forced him to commit suicide. As a result he became shogun for just thirteen days until Nobunaga’s death was avenged at the battle of Yamazaki.

A fine print in perfect condition. Colours, impression and print quality are all very fine. Full size with margins.

From the play: oki wa ima kikkyō no hataage. Signed Sadamasu ga.

25cm x 18cm.