Kunisada: Sawamura Tanosuke III as Hinadori, Peach Blossom 雛鳥

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864)
Title:  Hinadori 雛鳥, Joshi no momonohana (Hinadori, Peach Blossom) 

Series: Tosei mitate sanju-rokkasen 當盛見立 三十六花撰 (Contemporary Kabuki Actors Likened to Thirty-Six Flowers (Immortals of Poetry))

Date: 1862, 9th Month

Portrait of Sawamura Tanosuke III as Hinadori, Peach Blossom. Here we see the onnagata specialist Sawamura Tanosuke III in this female role. She wears a red kimono decorated with fruit tree blossoms , and clasps her hands together in delight. Her hair is decorated in a manner fit for a festival day, and her white collar has been deeply embossed. Branches of peach blossoms intertwine with the title cartouche.

Hinadori 雛鳥 is a role in play 'Mt. Imo and Mt. Se; A Tale of Womanly Virtue' (‘Imoseyama onna teikin’). This play was first staged in 1771 in Osaka, but must have become a well-loved kabuki play. The story may be compared to Romeo and Juliet, as it involves a young and handsome Koganosuke, who falls in love at first sight with the young and beautiful Hinadori–but alas, their families are bitter enemies. After many machinations of their power-hungry families, they are only united in death. This portrait of the actor Sawamura Tanosuke III shows them before they were injured in a stage accident around 1865. Their story is fascinating, as they continued to act on the kabuki stage despite both feet being amputated, and accommodations were made for their disability, which was a very unusual situation for 19th century Japan.

In this series actors are compared both with 36 flowers as well as the 36 Immortal Poets.  

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Very fresh and clean, and printed on heavy paper.

Dimensions: ôban (36.3 x 24.5 cm)
Publisher:  Hiranoya Shinzo 

Reference: See MFA Boston, British Museum collections.

Signature: Seventy-eight-year-old Toyokuni (nanajuhachi okina Toyokuni hitsu