Kunisada: Celebrating the Age of Seventy-Seven Kabuki Print

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864)
Title: Spring/New Year of the Dog: The First Calligraphy to Celebrate the Year of the Age Seventy-Seven (Ino-haru: kiju no kakizome)
Date: 1861

Kunisada designed this print along with Baisotei Gengyo (1817-1880) in the last month of the Rooster Year for the coming New Year of the Dog, in celebration of attaining the lucky age of seventy-seven. The subtitle “hatsugai“ on the tanzaku poem oblong sheet at top introduces a poem by the Kabuki actor Ichimura Hazaemon with his pen name as the haiku poet “Kakitsu“. “Hatsugai“ may refer to a part of the title “San-nin Kichi sa kuruwa no hatsugai“ by Kawatake Mokuami, in which Ichimura Hazaemon first starred in the New Year production of 1860 at Ichimura-za theater. The flowerpot holding the plum has designs of Kunisada’s toshidama seal and Gengyo’s diamond seal. At the top of the print Baiso-tei Gengyo depicted the tachibana flower, which is the crest of Kakitsu. Furthermore, Gengyo drew the theme "uchideno-kozuchi"; a mallet, a travel hat for a woman, etc., which probably indicates the characters in the play “San-nin Kichi sa kuruwa no hatsugai“.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Mint.
Dimensions: ôban (37.5 x 25.4 cm)
Seal: Blockcutter: Horiko Matushima Masakichi
Signature: Oju kio Toyokuni-ga (Oju=upon request; kio= old man of 77 years old)