Kunisada: Sudden Shower on bank of the Sumida River (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)
Title: Sudden Shower along the Sumida River
Date: 1857

Sudden Shower along the Sumida River (Sumidagawa niwaka yudachi). Seven Kabuki actors take cover beneath a large tree as they are caught in a rainstorm during a stroll along the Sumida River. Two of the actors carry tobacco pipes. The onnagata (female impersonator) who is already beneath the tree seems to motion to her friend who is also an onnagata to hurry and join them. The word “Niwaka“ in the title means “hastily“ as well as meaning  an improvised short piece of drama. Here Kunisada has casually gathered the popular actors in separate poses, unlike the lineup of the more formal  “shiranami” presentation. They all wear the same yukata (summer robe) and obi sashes, which all lack any actors’ crests, therefore one can only identify each actor solely by their visages. The actors probably include the following famous faces: Kawarazaki Gonjuro, Iwai Kumesaburo, Seki Sanjuro, Ichikawa Uzaemon and Ichikawa Dodanji.

     On the river behind them we see various types of river boats, from passenger ferries to cargo transport to pleasure boats. On the opposite bank of the river, we see the Konryu-zan with the main hall of the Senso-ji Temple and the Five-Stories-Pagoda on the left sheet; Sanya-bori canal with the Imado Bridge between Ariake-ro and Take-ya Restaurants in the center sheet. The rightmost sheet of this design was used as a cover image on a Japanese-language catalog on kabuki prints. The rain has been printed in fine, subtle lines.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. 
Dimensions: ôban triptych (37 x 75 cm0
Signature: Toyokuni ga