Kunichika: Young Man with Benkei Puppet
Artist: Toyohara Kunichika
Title: Young Man with Benkei Puppet
Series: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers, Act 11 (Kanadehon Chushingura: ju ichi dan me Igo?)
A young man is manipulating a stick puppet, which can be controlled by adjusting the sticks. The puppet figure can be identified as Benkei according to his attributes of the Seven Weapons: sword, halberd, iron rake, Goad, wooden mallet, great saw, battle-axe, and sasumata spear. This is something of a puzzle, however, as the title says the Eleventh Act of Chushingura, or the story of the 47 Ronin. The puppeteer’s hairstyle is quite unusual; perhaps this is how hair was tied up before a wig is placed?
Condition: Excellent impression, and color; very good condition. Backed, and minor discoloration on left margin.
Dimensions: ôban 36.3 x 24.4 cm.
Signature: Kunichika hitsu