Kuniyoshi: Lantern Ghost and Kamiya Niemon (SOLD)

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Title: Skull and Waves
Series: Ogura Imitation of the Hundred Poets (Ogura nazorae hyakunin isshu)
Date: 1845-1848

From one of Japan’s most famous ghost plays “Tokaido Yotsuya kaidan”, we see the ghost of Niemon’s dead wife O-Iwa tormenting him even in his hideout, appearing as a lantern ghost surrounded by snakes, rising out of his small fire to avenge her poor treatment. As the story goes, Kamiya Niemon wanted to marry the child of his neighbor and get rid of his wife, O-Iwa. He fed her poison which disfigured her, and then mistreated her so badly that she committed suicide. Niemon then kills his servant Kohei who was a witness to the abuse and nails both bodies to a board and throws them into the nearby Onbo canal. Niemon becomes deranged and murders both his future bride and her father, and then flees into hiding in Snake Mountain. The unforgiving spirit of O-Iwa keeps tormenting Niemon with her terrifying ghost. Here we see her face and gaping mouth in the lantern, and the characters on the front of the lantern even appear to act as features. Her hair rises up out of the smoke. The wooden ropes appear as snakes to menace him, as do the hanging strips of green to the right. The gourd blossoms and leaves growing in a crack in the wall also appear as a haunting visage. Perhaps the best ghost design in this series. The title is “Onakatomi no Yoshinobu Ason--Lord Onakatomi no Yoshinobu”.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Left margin narrow.
Dimensions: ôban
Publisher: Iba-ya Sensaburô
Literature: Robinson S46.49. Stevenson, 2005, #152.  “The Hundred Poets Compared” by Hirwig and Mostow, 2007, page 132, nr. 49. See MFA online.
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga

SKU: KUY517


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