Kunisada: Sawamura Tanosuke III in Komachi Scene with Flowers 八重桐 沢村田之助

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Title:  Sawamura Tanosuke III in Komachi Scene with Flowers 八重桐 沢村田之助 

Series: The Seven Komachi 七小町の内 (Nana Komachi no uchi)

Date: 1864

We see the great Sawamura Tanosuke III in a role that relates to one of the Seven Komachi, perhaps here Kayoi Komachi, or traveling Komachi, as she holds a traveling hat and seems to be listening coyly, her hand covered by her sleeve. Behind her is a pattern of chrysanthemum flowers and fall grasses, and inset we see a shamisen and two tobacco pipes. She wears a terrific kimono whose fabric sleeves are feature patterns with writing--perhaps these are some of Komachi’s own poems. Sawamura Tanosuke III was a legendary actor of female roles who suffered a terrible accident during a stage performance that led to permanent disability. She continued to perform for several years, even after undergoing several amputations due to her worsening condition, using stage equipment that was made just for her.

The series title “Seven Komachi“ relates to the famous nana (seven) legendary acts of Komachi (Ono-no Komachi; ca. 825-ca. 900), the celebrated poetess of the Heian Period. This series gives a spin on each of the seven legends related to Komachi, who was also known as a matchless beauty. The seven scenes are “Shimizu Komachi“, ”amagoi Komachi”, “ómu Komachi“,"sóshi-arai Komachi“, “Sekidera Komachi“,  “Kayoi Komachi“, and “sotoba Komachi“. 

The designs of this series are based on the legendary seven stories, but are “modernized” by featuring contemporary Kabuki actors in roles that relate to each scene.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. With blindprinting on the traveling hat and on the collars of her kimono.
Dimensions: ôban (36.3 x 24.5 cm)
Publisher: Gosukuya
Signature:  Seventy-nine-year-old Toyokuni hitsu