Kuniyoshi: Fan Print of Two Kabuki Actors from the Chronicle of the Battle of Ichinotani (SOLD)

  • Sold.

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)
Title: Fan print of Sawamura Tossho and Iwai Shijaku
Date: 1861

Fan print (uchiwa-e) of a Kabuki scene from the fourth act of “The Chronicle of the Battle of Ichinotani” (Ichinotani futaba gunki). The story is based on one of the battles between the Genji (Minamoto clan) and the Heike (Taira clan); the Battle of Ichinotani in 1184, which Minamoto no Yoshitsune led and won. This Kabuki story deals mainly with two events: the Genji warrior Kumagaya Jiró Naotsune, who killed the enemy Taira no Atsumori and the Genji warrior, Okabe Rokuyata, who killed the Heike warrior Taira no Tadanori during the Battle of Ichi-no-tani.

Here we are presented with the protagonists of the scene “Rokuyata’s Villa“ of the fourth act: Okabe Rokuyata played by Sawamura Tossho (Okabe no Rokuyata Sawamura Tossho) and the courtesan Sugawara, disguised as Kiku-no-mae (keisei Sugawara jitsu ha Kiku-no-mae), played by Iwai Shijaku. Rokuyata holds up a jingasa, the helmet of a warrior. This scene is apparently no longer a part of the current kabuki repertoire. The storyline for this act, and indeed this scene, is extremely complex, and involves secret orders to kill Kiku-no-Mae and deliver her head in a head casket, along with an additional, more secret instruction to kill a substitute woman and deliver instead her head.

This must be from a fan print Kabuki series, since the Ritsumei-kan University Japan has one with other Kabuki actors published by the same publisher in the same year.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Barely visible center fold and minor binding holes repaired. Colors are unfaded.
Dimensions: uchiwa-e (23 x 26.9 cm)
Publisher: Ibasen (specialist in uchiwa-e)
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga