Kunisada II: Drama Behind a Mosquito Net

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada II (1823-1880)
Title: Mirror of Good and Bad Reputation of Young Women (musume hyooban zen-aku kagami処女評判善悪鏡)
Date: 1865

Here we see a Ohatsu at left, who holds a summer fan, looking askance at a couple who are seen behind a mosquito net, which was usually hung around a bedchamber. The maid Takegawa at right is wearing rather disheveled bedclothes, and looks suggestively towards the Tokubei, the male character in the center. The title of this work is the title of the kabuki play: “Mirror of Good and Bad Reputations of Young Women (Musume hyooban zen-aku kagami) 処女評判善悪鏡”. It played at the Ichimura-za theater in Edo in 1865 and was written by Kawatake Mokuami. This piece is the female version of “Gang of Five” (kumo-kiri gonin-otoko) namely,  the five female “gangs” Kumokiri Oroku, Subashiri Okuma, Kinezumi Okichi, Osaraba Oden, and Yamaneko Osan. The actors’ names are written in red, their roles in white tanzaku cartouche. The white tanzaku of Maid Takegawa explaines that she is actually “Subashiri Okuma”.  The actors and their roles are as follows: Bando-o Hikosaburo-o 坂東彦三郎 as Shino-ya Tokubei 真野屋徳兵衛 (center), Ichimura Kakitsu市村家橘 as maid Takegawa奥女中竹川(right), and Bando-o Mitsugoro-o 坂東三津五郎as Ohatsu, mistress of Tokubei 徳兵衛妾おはつ(left). Summer rain falls on the slice of scenery glimpsed at left.

Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. Slight trimming to sides of sheets.
Dimensions: ôban triptych (36.3 x 72.3 cm)
Publisher: Ise-ya Kanekichi
Signature: Kunisada hitsu