Kunisada: Kabuki Triptych with Young Mouse in Costume and Bold Background
Artist: Utagawa Kunisada
Title: Nakamura Shikan IV and Young Mouse Triptych
Date: 1860, 8th month
Three sheets that also form a triptych, all with the same matching boldly patterned background. Middle is the Actor Nakamura Shikan IV as Toba-e no Masuroku and an actor as Konezumi, Young Mouse. Young Mouse holds up a tie-dye patterned cloth and stares at Toba-e, who almost seems to flirt back. The towel features gauffrage (blindprinting). Young Mouse looks more like an actor in a mouse costume than an actual mouse, which is a decision made by the artist in designing the print. This is from the play Kikkoden Goshiki no Kumiito from the main feature Katakiuchi Amanohishidate at the Morita theater. On the left is a scene from the same play featuring Nakamura Shikan IV as both the Spirit of a Male Butterfly (Ocho no sei) and the Courtesan Kaoru. To the right is a famous general holding a fan. The MFA has two of the three sheets, each listed as separate oban works.
Condition: Excellent impression and color; very good condition. Rightmost sheet has issues along left edge and two other sheets have binding holds. Impression is superb.
Dimensions: ôban Triptych
Publisher: Iseya Kanekichi
Signature: Toyokuni ga