Hirosada: Nakamura Utaemon As Matsuemon in Pine Tree (Sold)

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Artist: Konishi Hirosada
Date: 1851, 8th month

Unusual and dramatic scene of Nakamura Utaemon IV as Higuchi no Jiro (樋口次郎) Kanemitsu, disguised as the Boatman Matsuemon. This work is very unusual in the heightened design elements of the largely empty left panel of patterned clouds and the strongly cropped figures entering lower left.  Higuchi no Jiro has climbed a pine tree to get a better view, and he wears a distinctively patterned robe that is associated with this role as he sees a cohort of the enemy Genji clan approach. Gonshiro is Kanemitsu’s father-in-law, who has betrayed him, and he appears to be leading the enemy straight to him. With Kataoka Ichiro as as Gonshiro and Mimasu Daigoro IV as Shigetada, most likely from the play “Hirakana Seisuiki.” Due to sumptuary laws, Nakamura Utaemon IV was placed under house arrest in Edo for his luxurious lifestyle in 1827. Osaka prints like this one are justly prized for their superior and sumptuous printing, with metallic pigments and blindprinting on the garments. This is actually a horizontal ôban design, something quite unusual for ôsaka prints.

Condition: Excellent impression; very good color and condition. Center fold.
Dimensions: 24.9 x 38 cm (ôban)
Publisher: Temmaya Kihei (Kinkado)