Hirosada, Sawamura Kito as a Street Musician

Konishi Hirosada (ca 1810 - 1864) Sawamura Kito as a Street Musician, 1849. Deluxe Chuban.
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This rare print and its companion piece is from a highly regarded series of three prints, issued to commemorate the stage debut of the child actor Nakamura Tamashichi in 1848. He was the twelve year old son of the actor Nakamura Shikan III. The prints were probably issued in a limited edition paid for and sponsored by his patrons and supporters in the Osaka kabuki scene. The print is exquisite and delicate and as usual laden with visual puns. The first character in the boy’s name, tama, means "jewel" and the robes here are decorated with a jewel motif. The title of the play, Aratamaru oshika omoiba (To Think How The Mandarin Ducks Have Changed), contains the syllable for circle and this and its companion print both contain bold hand drum motifs.

This print shows Sawamura Kito as a street musician. There was a tradition that on New Year’s day, dancers would roam from house to house driving away evil spirits. They were often dressed up as ponies since a white horse was meant to dispel evil spirits. The pony dancers were accompanied by a manzai singer and street musician, seen here. The dances were quickly absorbed into the kabuki tradition and crop up in various plays as interludes. The play involves quick changes of costume, transforming the actors into mandarin ducks.

A fine print with deluxe embellishments. The colour, impression and condition are all fine.

Published by Kinkado.

18cm x 24cm.