Toyohara Kunichika, Actor Nakamura Shikan IV as Sato Miyomasa

Toyohara Kunichika, 1835-1900

Actor Nakamura Shikan IV as Sato [Kato] Miyomasa
(Seisho daijin Araki no Ritsuzo)

signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu, ca. 1873

oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 9 5/8 in., 36.4 by 24.4 cm

The actor Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899) is in the role of Kato Miyomasa, a samurai falsely accused of a crime who saves his master from an earthquake, from the play Momoyama Monogatari (The Tale of Momoyama). Miyomasa is based on the historical daimyo who lived from 1562 until 1611 and was a renowned general and castle builder. He contributed to major victories at Seoul and Busan during the Korean Imjin Wars (1592-1598), during which he was recognized for building important fortifications for the Japanese forces. He is often depicted engaging in tiger hunting, a somewhat common but decidedly dangerous practice that was popular amongst wealthy samurai of the time.

Reference:
Amy Reigle Newland, Time present and time past, Images of a forgotten master: Toyohara Kunichika 1835-1900, 1999, p. 102, cat. no. 74

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