Kunichika: Tattooed Onoe Kikugoro as Onizami Seikichi Hanging Upside Down (Sold)

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Artist: Toyohara Kunichika
Title: Tattooed Onoe Kikugoro as Onizami Seikichi Hanging from Bamboo
Series: Flowers of the East: Caricature by Kunichika (Azuma no hana: Kunichika manga)
Date: 1872/10

A Kabuki scene from the love story of “Izayoi and Seishin.” Seishin was a monk at the Goraku-ji but he was expelled for having relations with the geisha Izayoi. He and Izayoi attempt to commit suicide without success, surviving without each knowing that the other is still alive. Seishin changes his name to Seikichi and lives as the robber Onizami Seikichi. In this picture he hangs down from a bamboo stalk in the air. The dark moon hangs eerily, and we feel the suspense. In the play when he kills Motome he says: “only the moon sees his killing”. Seikichi has become a bandit, and his nickname is Oniazami, "Demon Thistle." We notice that Seikichi's tattoos feature this deep red thistle of his namesake. First edition, with clouds around the moon and mica in the sky.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: ôban (35.5 x 24 cm)
Publisher: Yorozu-ya Magobei
Seal: Carver’s seal: Hori-kô Hidekatsu
Signature: Toyohara Kunichika hitsu (with toshidama seal)