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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Toyokuni III, Actor Sawamura Gennosuke as Yorikane

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865

Comparisons for Thirty-Six Selected Poems: Poem by Fujiwara no Takamitsu, Actor Sawamura Gennosuke as Yorikane
(Mitate Sanjurokkasen no Uchi: Fujiwara no Takamitsu, Yorikane)

signed Toyokuni ga within the artist's Toshidama cartouche, the series title at upper right with poem cartouche, with publisher's seal Kichi, Iseya (Iseya Kanekichi), block carver's seal Yokokawa Hori Take, censor's seals Mera and Watanabe, and date seal Ne-juichi (year of the rat [1852], 11th month)

oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 10 in., 36 by 25.3 cm

The actor Sawamura Sojuro IV, formerly Gennosuke I (1784-1812) is in the role of Ashikaga Yorikane, the inept Daimyo of the Oshu clan, from the play Meiboku Sendai hagi (Nikki Danjo and the Disputed Succession).

The poem is by Fujiwara no Takamitsu (939-994):

So painful
Does this world seem to live in;
How we may truly envy
the clear moon shining above

References:
J. Thomas Rimer et al, Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing: The Wakan Roei Shu, 1997, p. 228
Museum of Fine Art, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Burgess Collection, accession nos. 11.42684 and 11.36779.52
Utagawa Kunisada: 150th Anniversary of His Death, Ota Memorial Museum of Art, 2014, p. 150, no. 211

$800