Kuniyoshi 国芳: The Beauty Kasaya Sankatsu Sets Out for Her New Life

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)
Title: Station Kashiwabara: The Beauty Kasaya Sankatsu 柏原 笠屋三勝
Series: Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidô Road  木曾街道六十九次之内
Date: 8/1852

The beauty Sankatsu walks cheerfully, traveling hat on her head and holding up her robes as she sets out, the medicine-seller Heizo with a serious look bearing her wicker trunk behind her. She seems optimistic, as if looking forward to a fresh new life. This design is based on the novelization of a famous  play published in 1808. In the play the lovers Sankatsu and Hanshichi commit lover’s suicide, but in the novel Sankatasu (Osan) instead escapes to Kyoto and becomes a famous dancer, although she never forgets her first love, Hanshichi.  The association with Kashiwabara is that Hanshichi’s crest was a triple-oak-leaf crest, and “kashiwa” means “oak”; we can see the shape of this crest as the inset cartouche at left. The title cartouche of the series at right is decorated with dance accessories. Sarah Thompson chose this design as the cover image for her 2009 book on the series. Station number 61. 

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Minor binding holes left.
Dimensions: ôban (36 x 24.4 cm)
Publisher: Yawataya Sakujirô
Literature: See Sarah Thompson’s “The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidô”, figure 61, page 138 and cover image.
Seal: kiri
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga