Kunichika, Nakamura Fukusuke I as Genzaemon in Kirare Otomi

Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) Nakamura Fukusuke I as Genzaemon in the play Kirare Otomi, 1864. Oban.

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Another very fine 1860’s actor portrait by Kunichika which is almost a companion to the previous piece. It is a fine and atmospheric piece, a portrait of the cruel and sadistic bandit Genzaemon. He stands pensively, perhaps considering his crimes, his sins. The wind blowing through the Yoshiwara is shown bearing the delightfully drawn autumn leaves and is a portentous symbol of his downfall.

There is much to admire in this print, the superb and skilful drawing of the figure, the plum branches on his kimono, the elaborate hair style, knotted over his head, the distinctive woodgrain and the fabulous close tones and colours. The play tells the story of Otomi, a courtesan who is the mistress of the ruthless gangster Genzaemon and also the lover of Yosaburo. When Genzaemon finds out he orders Otomi to be tortured and disfigured in the face with a sword. The remainder of the play and the scores of others on the same subject, concern the revenge that she and the equally disfigured Yosaburo take on Genzaemon, his henchman and the pimp Yasu.

A fine print, colour, impression and condition are all fine.

Published by Yamazakiya Seishichi.

36 x 25 cm.