Toyohara Kunichika


Biography of Shiobara Tasuke; actor Onoe Kikugoro V as Michizure Kohei in the Yokobori Village scene
(Shiobara tasuke ichidaiki: Michizure Kohei Onoe Kikugoro, Yokoborimura yamagoe tanimichi no basigned Hoshun Kunichika hitsu with Toshidama seal, date and publisher's information within the yellow cart)

signed Hoshun Kunichika hitsu with Toshidama seal, date and publisher's information within the yellow cartouche, Meiji nijugo-nen ichi-gatsu -nichi insatsu, do-nen do-getsu shuppan (printed on January of Meiji 26 [1892], published on the same year and same month), insatsu ken hakkosha Fukuda Kumajiro (printer and publisher Fukuda Kumajiro at Gusokuya), and carver's seal Horiyata (Watanabe Yataro), 1892

oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 30 in., 37.3 by 76.2 cm

The drama Shiobara Tasuke Ichidaiki (Biography of Shiobara Tasuke) by playwright Sanyutei Encho (1839-1900) premiered at the Kabukiza in January 1892. The actor Onoe Kikugoro V (1844-1903) portrayed two roles, the eponymous lead, Shiobara Tasuke, as well as Michizure Kohei, as depicted here. The composition is divided by a large pink hikimaku (curtain), which folds open diagonally to reveal Kikugoro standing in the snowy landscape of the Yokobori village scene as Ao (Blue) the trusty horse belonging to the other role that he plays, Tasuke, approaches in front of the curtain from stage left. The circular cartouche in the upper right illustrates a seated figure identified as Sakuotoko (or Gensakusha) Encho (author Encho), who according to an article published contemporaneously in the magazine, Kabuki shinpo, purportedly gifted the curtain to the actor to commemorate the premiere.

Kabuki shinpo, vol. 1322, ca. 1892
Japan Arts Council Cultural Digital Library, accession no. 09053

(inv. no. 10-5567)

price: $1,100


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site last updated
December 1, 2022

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475