Toyohara Kunichika


Actor Sawamura Tanosuke III as the Courtesan Shikishima
(Sawamura Tanosuke, Keisei Shikishima)

signed Kunichika hitsu with artist's seal Toshidama, publisher's seal Ningyocho, Gusokuya (Gusokuya Kahei), carver's seal Hori Masu (Ota Masukichi), combined censor and date seal Mi-yon, aratame (year of the snake [1869], 4th month, examined)

oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 9 3/4 in., 36.8 by 24.8 cm

The actor Sawamura Tanosuke III (1845-1878) is in the role of the Courtesan Shikishima in the play Koshoku Shikishima Monogatari. The border of the print is decorated with a combination of chidori (plovers) and stylized swirls references the actor's mon (crest). In 1865, Tanosuke fell terribly ill after a wound to his foot became gangrenous. Though he would lose both his feet, he continued acting after his recovery, often supported on stage by black robed men. However, the period that followed the injury was marked by personal, professional, and financial difficulty, and ultimately concluded in his death in 1878.

Nobutaka Imamura, ed., Ukiyo-e (Kunichika), Kyoto University of Art & Design, March 2018, p. 15, no. 85
Shigeru Aoki, The Samurai World in Ukiyo-e, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2003, no. 123
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.16146
(inv. no. 10-4689)

price: $2,200


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

site last updated
May 14, 2021

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