Kunisada: Vertical Diptych Rooftop Fight Scene from the Hakkenden (Sold)

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Title: Inukai Genpachi and Inuzuka Shino Fight on the Roof
Date: ca. 1836

Famous rooftop fight scene from the story of the Eight Dog Heroes, Hakkenden. The story was originally a novel that took 28 years to complete by the writer Takizawa Bakin. We see Ichimura Uzaemon XII (Ichimura Takenoji V) as Inukai Genpachi  Nobumichi (bottom) and Sawamura Sojoro as Inuzuka Shino Moritaka, top. These two exceptional brothers of supernatural birth are two of the Eight Dog Heroes. This fight takes place at the palace of Gov. Koga Nariuji, and the two are fighting without knowing that they belong to the same family. Each brother bears the characteristic of a specific Confucian principle; Shino embodies KÔ (filial piety) and Genpachi personifies SHIN (sincerity). Here we see Genpachi stepping onto an ornate railing as he prepares to throw a grappling hook up towards the roof. Above, already subduing a minor character with his foot, Shino prepares to meet him. This chapter has a happy ending, as the character Daisuke will arrive to reconcile the two brothers and explain the situation. This scene could be from the play ”Hakkenden uwasa no takedono” 八犬伝評判楼閣, staged in the fourth lunar month of 1836 at the Moritaza theater. 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 impression, color and condition. The upper sheet is unbacked and has mica highlights. The lower sheet is backed.
Dimensions: Vertical oban diptych (cm)
Signature: Gototei Kunisada ga
Publisher: Yorozuya Shirobei