Yoshitaki, Scene from Dan-no-Ura Kabuto Gunki

Utagawa Yoshitaki (ca 1841 - 1899) Scene from the play Dan-no-Ura Kabuto Gunki, 1860.  Four Sheet Deluxe Chuban.

Click here for a detailed enlargement.

These Yoshitaki multiple sheet prints of the early 1860’s are a real delight. They shimmer and sparkle like Fabergé jewel boxes. The surfaces are rich with ink, shaded and graded, overprinted, embossed, flecked with mica and embellished with metallic inks, sometimes mysteriously printed over black or other dark colours so that their existence is vestigial and only slowly revealing.

The short name of the play is Akoya, and was originally written for the puppet theatre. Only the one scene survives in which 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 play 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. Yoshitaki shows Bando Jyutaro as Iwanaga Saemon Munetsura far right, Jitsukawa Enjyaku as Hataekayama 2nd from right, Ohtani Tomoemon as Keisei Akoya 2nd from left and Nakamura Fukusuke as Tsubakisawa Daisaburo at the far left.

A lovely print, colour, impression and condition are all fine. The sheets are separate and unmounted on this occasion.

Each sheet 24 x 19 cm.