Sadamasu, Actor Portrait

Utagawa Sadamasu (active 1834 - 1854) Actor Portrait, c1850. Deluxe Chuban.

Depicting Hashiba Hideyoshi - one of Japan’s most famous and important historical figures - this print is typical of Sadamasu’s best, mature work. Sadamasu depicts the great general who unified warring Japan in the sixteenth century and made the ascendancy of the shogunate possible. Ironically, because of his spectacular failures in China and Korea, he was also responsible for the centuries long closing of Japan to outsiders and hence the development of Japan’s unique cultural identity.

Sadamasu pictures him here in a thoughtful pose. The print is technically outstanding, beautiful bokashi shading throughout, with the application of metallic pigments - the multicolour, shaded treatment to the robes is particularly fine as is the extensive embossing.

25cm x 18cm.