Kuniyoshi: Preparatory drawing for 2 chuban giga-e of catfish. Octopus as earth-leveler, above.
Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Title: Preparatory drawing for 2 chuban giga-e of catfish. Octopus as earth-leveler, above.
Series: Dôke namazu zukushi (Series of Caricatures of Catfish)
Date: ca 1855
Preparatory drawing for 2 unpublished chuban catfish “fun” prints. Above is titled “Namazu no dôzuki” (Catfish by leveling of the ground). This is numbered “One” in the title. Six catfish construction workers level the construction site with the concerted help of a huge octopus. We can see the structure of what looks to be poles for scaffolding. The octopus has used the last two of his legs to fashion a sweatband for himself, as befitting the attire of a construction worker. With pentimenti on the series title and the design title. The Kuniyoshi signature may have been added after finalizing the design, as there was not a place in the design left for it to easily fit. Below is titled “Odoriko Dôjô-ji” (Dancer of the Dôjô-ji dance). A fish in the costume of musume Dòjò-ji dance (a Kabuki dance) under a large bell is depicted in front of a wooden fence of a temple. The notice board says “tsurishi kinsei“, meaning “fishermen not allowed“. Two monks, one a namazu and one an octopus enjoy the choreography of the formal dance. With the seal of the publisher Kiya Sôjirô, below. This series was never published, but seems to be in the vein of Kuniyoshi’s wonderful chûban series featuring the exploits of tanuki.
Condition: Excellent condition. Attached to a stablilizing backing sheet.
Publisher: KIya Sôjirô
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi kyôga