Yoshitoyo, 5 Confucian Virtues - Jitsukawa Ensaburo as Abe Genzaburo

Yoshitoyo (signed Hokusui) (active 1830 - 66) Jitsukawa Ensaburo as Abe Genzaburo From The Five Confucian Virtues, 1856. Deluxe Chuban.

Click here for a full-size image.

A wonderful print throwing up some confusion because of the issues of censorship. Yoshitoyo was a fine artist and poet in Osaka and a member of the Osaka School of Printmakers. Osaka prints are exceptional in the quality of their design and manufacture. Print runs were small in comparison to Edo and the prints were collected by a cultivated clique of enthusiasts lending the prints a special quality.

It was common for Osaka artists to use pseudonyms since prohibition of actor prints was more severe there than elsewhere. Subjects habitually became disguised in layers of alternate meaning. In this case the print is from a small series of five prints commemorating a performance of Mukashi Abumi Bunbu no Isaoshi. It is however disguised as a worthy encouragement to the five Confucian virtues.

This print represents the actor Jitsukawa Ensaburo in the role of Abe Genzaburo, in a pose of great delicacy and repose. The piece is incidentally titled Propriety, a feature of the character who is illustrated. It is a deluxe print with metallic ink on the large red cartouche and embossing to the head band. Delicate shomen-zuri on the iron fan. As with so many Osaka prints the quality of the design and the execution are outstanding.

Colour, condition and impression are very fine. Full size with margins.

Signed Hokusui, seal Yoshitoyo.

19cm x 25cm.