This site requires that you enable Javascript to function properly Scholten Japanese Art | Woodblock Prints | Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) The Syllable Ri for the Carp Scroll
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Kunisada (Toyokuni III)
Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865
Seven Calligraphic Models for Each Character in the Kana Syllabary: The Syllable Ri for the Carp Scroll
(Seisho nanatsu iroha: Rigyo no ichijiku)

signed Toyokuni ga within the artist's Toshidama cartouche, publisher's seal Sho (Hayashiya Shogoro), censor's seal aratame, date seal Tatsu-roku (year of the dragon [1856], 6th month)
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 9 3/4 in., 36.3 by 24.9 cm
This composition is a posthumous portrait of the actor Onoe Baiju (Onoe Kikugoro III, 1784-1849) in the role of the hero, Rokusaburo the carpenter, killing a massive carp. Rokusaburo is the main character in the play Mijikayo ukina no chirashigaki, set in the timber yards of Fukugawa. The scene depicted is a 'carp-grappling scene' (koitsukami), which utilized real tanks of water on stage, a spectacular theatrical technique developed by the Onoe line of actors.
References:
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.35399.9
Robert Schaap, Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi 1797-1861, 1998, p. 171, cat. 183
price: $ 400