Kuniyoshi: Sumo wrestler finished drawing
Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Title: Sumo wrestler finished drawing
The original name of the wrestler in what must be the under-drawing is Iozan Moriemon. “I” means wild boar, “O” means King, “san” means mountain, “Mori” means forest, and the ending is “emon”. The original name of the wrestler has been pasted over with pentimento. The face has also been changed and corrected, as well as the feet, all with pentimenti. The face and head were very carefully re-drawn with great skill and sensitivity. The right portion of the chest has also been corrected. There are several areas of red under-writing which were also corrected, as well as the crest on the front of the apron. One could surmise that at the last minute a different wrestler either won or was more popular so they took the basic sumo figure and changed these features just before publication. This work was probably never published. This would be the final state of a drawing (before adding the textile patterns, which I think was handled by a different person). What is very rare and especially desirable are the final censor’s seals for 1856. These are next to the signature. While the signature and publisher’s mark were done with ink and brush, the censor’s seals are the actual hanko of the censors themselves. Kuniyoshi did not design many sumo prints. The very thin original sketching paper has been adhered to a stronger backing paper, as is very often the case. There are a couple of areas of minor wormage to the original paper, but this is not distracting and is also something of a good sign as it reflects the age of the work.
Condition: Excellent condition overall; pasted to backing sheet.
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga