Kunisada: Vertical Diptych of Nighttime Rescue (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Title: Danjuro as Tokijiro and Bando Shuka as Urazato
Date: 1851

Dramatic scene from the play Akegarasu hana no nureginu (Raven at Dawn, the Falsely-Accused Flower) by Sakurada Jisuke III (1802-1877) which premiered at the Ichimura Theater in the 2nd month of 1851. Ichikawa Danjuro VIII has used a pine tree to scale a snow-covered wall to rescue his lover, the courtesan Yamanaya Urazato, who is played by Bando Shuka and is rather fetchingly tied up in the snow. At her feet cries the child actor Bando Kichiya as their young daughter Katsumi, who works at the brothel as an attendant. Tokijiro is about to rescue Urazato, who has been beaten by the house mother Kaya, in order to convince Urazato to give up the penniless Tokijiro. This vertical diptych format is quite unusual for the time and the subject matter, but Kunisada has made effective use of the verticality to increase the drama.

Condition: Very good/good impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: Vertical oban diptych (72 x 24.5 cm)
Signature: Toyokuni ga and Kochoro Toyokuni ga
Publisher: Izutsuya Shokichi
Literature: Waseda University Theater Museum (enpaku.waseda.ac.jp), accession nos. 101-3704 and 101-3705. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), accession no. 11.40776 (bottom sheet only).