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Toyokuni III, Actor Bando Mitsugoro III as Shunkan Sozu

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865

Comparisons for Thirty-Six Selected Poems: Poem by Gonchunagon Atsutada, Actor Bando Mitsugoro III as Shunkan Sozu
(Mitate Sanjurokkasen no Uchi: Gonchunagon Atsutada, Shunkan Sozu)

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 9 7/8 in., 36 by 25.1 cm

The actor Bando Mitsugoro III (1775-1831) is in the role of Shunkan sozu, the disgraced high preist of the Hosho Temple in Kyoto from the play Heike nyogo no shima (The Exile of Priest Shunkan).

The poem is by Gonchunagon Atsutada (Fujiwara no Atsutada, 906-943):

Ise no umi
chihiro no hama no
hirou to mo
ima wa nani te
fukai ga arubeki

What type of shell I can pick
at the vast shore of Ise?
No matter how much I adore you,
my feeling has no meaning,
as you have become unobtainable.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (, from the Bigelow Collection, accession nos. 11.42668 and 11.36779.51