Munehiro, Nakamura Tomijuro as the Courtesan Akoya

Hasegawa Munehiro (active 1848 - 1867) Nakamura Tomijuro as the Courtesan Akoya from the play Dan-no-Ura Kabuto Gunki, 1849. Deluxe Chuban.

Little is known of Munehiro - he was an Osaka artist, a pupil of Hasegawa Sadanobu (from whom he took his first name) and he produced a small number of single and multi-sheet theatre prints. It is sometimes thought that he was in the circle of Hirosada but this is unproven. Despite his scarcity, he was a gifted artist as we can see from this sensitive portrait from an unknown series.

It is likely that the print commemorates the performance of the play Dan-no-Ura Kabuto Gunki at the Tachibana no Shibai theatre in 1849 by the onnagata actor Nakamura Tomijuro II in the role of Akoya. Akoya is the courtesan lover of Kagekiyo who is on the run and in hiding. She is hauled before the court and threatened with torture to reveal the whereabouts of her lover. When she refuses, three instruments of torture are brought to the stage yet she still refuses. Next three musical instruments are brought on and the official Shigetada demands that she plays them. She performs three songs about her love of Kagekiyo so beautifully that Shigetada is convinced that someone who sings so movingly could not also be a liar. The play ends with him confronting the evil torturer Munetsura.

A fine Osaka print, full size with margins. The colour is very fine with much oxidised metallic ink and embossing. The condition is excellent.

18cm x 25cm.