Kunisada: Ghost Head and Magic Scroll; Ka Brigade

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Title: Kanda District, Ka Brigade, Eighth Group: Actor Onoe Kikugoro II as Soma no Takiyashi-hime.
Series: Edo no hana meisho-e (Flowers of Edo and Views of Famous Places)江戸の花名勝会

Date: 1863

Kanda District; Ka Brigade, Eighth Group, with the Actor Onoe Kikugorô III as Sôma no Takiyasha-hime.

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

Here we see a magical flame emitting from the mouth of a horse painted on a scroll. The ghostly flame dominates the top section, with a ghostly head biting on to what seems to be a rock. 

Takiyasha-hime was a famous woman warrior who summoned a ghost army to try to avenge the death of her father. She must be pictured lower right, with a magic scroll that helps to summon a spirit from her magical demon army, shown above in the ghostly flame. There is blindprinting on the white areas, and the woodgrain-mimicking printing effect lower right.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. 
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