Kunisada: Actor as Seigen with Golden Incense Holder

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Title:  Actor as Seigen as Kiyomizu Komachi清玄阿闍梨 沢村訥升.

Series: The Seven Komachi 七小町の内 (Nana Komachi no uchi)

Date: 1864

We see an actor in the role of a Buddhist priest, perhaps in the role of Seigen, a tragic kabuki role of great reknown.  He holds a Buddhist rosary as well as a golden incense holder in the shape of a lotus, and behind him we see a profusion of decorative flowers. In the inset we see what seems to be a view of Kiyomizudera, so perhaps this is Kiyomizu (shimizu) Komachi. Kunisada signed this with pride with his age, seventy-nine, which ended up being his final year of life.

The series title “Seven Komachi“ relates to the famous nana (seven) legendary acts of Komachi (Ono-no Komachi; ca. 825-ca. 900), the celebrated poetess of the Heian Period. This series gives a spin on each of the seven legends related to Komachi, who was also known as a matchless beauty. The seven scenes are “Shimizu Komachi“, ”amagoi Komachi”, “ómu Komachi“,"sóshi-arai Komachi“, “Sekimachi Komachi“,  “kayoi Komachi“, and “sotoba Komachi“.

The designs of this series are based on the legendary seven stories, but sem to have been “modernized” by placing contemporary Kabuki actors in the scene. 

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. 
Dimensions: ôban (36.3 x 24.5 cm)
Publisher: Gosukuya
Signature:  Seventy-nine-year-old Toyokuni hitsu