Hirosada, Ichikawa Ibizo V as Kinugawa Tanizo

Konishi Hirosada (ca 1810 - 1864) A Mirror of Filial and Loyal Wrestlers: Ichikawa Ibizo V as Kinugawa Tanizo, 1848. Deluxe Chuban.

This is from a rare and interesting series of prints by Hirosada who imagines various stars of the kabuki stage in roles as well known sumo wrestlers. No doubt this was inspired by the various edicts of that decade banning images of kabuki performances. Presumably these portraits were marketed as sumo stars, the public, though, being able to recognise actors despite the titles.

Roger Keyes says of this series:

Although most of Hirosada's prints commemorate particular kabuki performances, The Mirror of Wrestlers depicts leading actors of the Osaka stage in different plays in an imaginary tableau. . .Without narrative constraints Hirosada was freer than usual to explore the shallow, confined space in which he usually placed his figures during this period. The cartouche around the actors' role names is a stylized form of the toshidama, an emblem used by Kunisada and other members of the Utagawa school of print designers. It appears as a cartouche on Hirosada's prints only between the fifth and eighth months of 1848.

Here we see the great bulk of the wrestler filling the right side of the print. Hirosada contrasts this with the delicate paper screen over which he has laid a gentle shadow of the wrestler’s arm. This is a superb Osaka print from a notable series, rich in deluxe refinements, the rendering of the shadowed screen is particularly fine.

The print is featured on page 58 and discussed in full on page 83 of Keyes, Hirosada: Osaka Printmaker, 1984.

Very fine condition, colour and deluxe impression with burnished shomenzuri to the robes. Published by Kinkado Konishi.

25cm x 18cm.