Kunisada: Fan Print of Kabuki Actor Bandô Minosuke as Momo-no-i Wakasa-no-suke 坂東箕助 桃の井若狭助 (SOLD)

  • Sold.

Artist: Utagawa Kunisada 国貞 (1786-1864)
Title: Kabuki Actor Bandô Minosuke as Momo-no-i Wakasa-no-suke 坂東箕助 桃の井若狭助

Date: 1830

Uchiwa-e of the Kabuki actor Bandô Minosuke II (1800-63) as Daimyo Momo-no-I  Wakasanosuke in “The Treasury of Loyal Retainers “ (Kana-dehon Chushingura” 仮名手本忠臣蔵).

Here we see him looking left, his expression complex, his hand lifting the top of his sword hilt. The look must indicate barely-suppressed rage. The drawing of this sword was the act that precipitated the events that led to the death of the 47 loyal retainers and loss of his clan. It is very interesting to see this moment of truth and its complex and subtle character study, made at a time when Kunisada was at the height of his artistic powers.

His crest, a leaf of paper mulberry “kaji no ha” on his kimono sleeves are the crest of Tsuruoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura, and the place where his mansion was located. Tsuruoka Hachiman Shrine was worshipped as guardian of Kamakura warriors, of which the Kamakura Period (1185-1333) was named. 

It’s possible that this performance of “Chushingura”  was played in the fourth month of 1830 at Ichimura-za in Edo.

Originally the shape of the uchiwa summer fan was quite round, but during development the shape seems to have been widened, most likely to make it more convenient for artists to use as their creative canvas. The uchiwa fan was one of the most important items of urban culture during the summer, as a sophisticated design reflected the taste of the owner; they were also gifted for special occasions as well as a space for advertisement for businesses. Designing prints for uchiwa was an important income source for ukiyo-e artists, and therefore a very high quality was required in order to stand out. Ukiyo-e subjects include beauties, Kabuki actors, and scenes related to the summer season. 

Condition: Excellent impression and color; very good condition. Binding holes right and some surface dirt.

Dimensions: 22.7 x 26.7 cm
Signature: Gototei Kunisada ga 五渡亭国貞画

Publisher: Ibaya Senzaburo 伊場屋仙三郎