Kunisada: Fire-Breathing Cat Demon (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Title: Ne Brigade, Ninth Group, Nekomatabashi: Actor Ichinokawa Ichizô (Ichikawa Ichizô III) as Inumura Daikaku
Series: Edo no hana meisho-e (Flowers of Edo and Views of Famous Places)江戸の花名勝会

Date: 1863

A giant demonic cat dominates the design, leaning out of its confining frame with claws out and spewing a tongue of fire downwards towards the portrait of Ichikawa Ichizo II. The cat was actually drawn by Katsushika Isai, a student of Hokusai. Lower right, the actor draws his sword. He plays Inumura Daikaku, one of the Eight Dog Heroes, who was famous for killing a monstrous cat witch with his short sword. We can understand using the image of a monster cat (nekomata) for the Nekomatabashi district. The image at lower left was drawn by Katsushika Hokuen.

The term “flowers of Edo” (Edo no hana) was often used to refer to the very common occurrence of fires. The title panel shows the lanterns and identifying standard (matoi) for the brigades of firefighters (hikeshi) assigned to each district, and the title names the brigade, its group, and its district, followed by the kabuki scene chosen to match it

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Mint.

Dimensions: ôban (35.8 x 24.6 cm)
Publisher: Katôya Iwazoô (Seibei)
Literature: See MFA website and FAMSF, Waseda University websites.A reference book has been privately published by Simon Henry that examines this entire series.
Signature: Toyokuni ga