Kunisada: Rat Magic Magician Riding a Rodent of Unusual Size

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Title:  Sumitsu Kaja Yoshitaka, Rat Magician

Series: Competition of the art of magic done by Toyokuni 豊国揮毫奇術競 (Toyokuni kigô kijutsu arasoi)
Date: 1861

The kabuki actor Ichikawa Ichizo III clasps his hands together in a magical mudra as he sits aside a giant rat, who appears to be doing his bidding. The rodent of unusual size floats atop a cloud that features a heavy layer of mica. The cloud also features a second printed block of lighter grey puffs that dissipate into the dark night. This series is highly regarded for the quality of its printing on deluxe, heavy paper. 

Dimensions: ôban (36.3 x 24.4 cm)
Publisher: Hirano-ya
Signature: nanajû hachi sai Toyokuni hitsu (brush of Toyokuni at 78 years old)