Kuniyoshi: Oshichi Atop a Man-Horse Kabuki Scene

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi  歌川国芳
Title: Oshichi Riding a Man-Horse Kabuki Scene
Date: 1849

On the left we see Iwai Kumesaburô III as Yaoya Oshichi (八百屋娘於七) and an unidentified actor as the groom (馬士) wiping the face of the “horse” he is leading. Oshichi wears large prayer beads and a look of sweet contrition, as she was the greengrocer’s daughter who was responsible for a temple fire that she must eventually face punishment for. Almost out of vaudeville, the “horse” is amusingly shown to be two men, as we see their very human legs clearly. During the kabuki scene we can safely assume that the actor playing Oshichi actually did “ride” this man-horse. To the right we see Sawamura Sôjûrô V as Nitta Shiro Tadatsune (仁田四郎忠常) and Matsumoto Kinshô I as Goshaku Somegorô (五尺染五郎). Their expressions are serious as they look towards Oshichi. From the play Sono mukashi koi no edozome (其往昔恋江戸染), which ran at the Nakamura theater in the first month of 1849.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. A few very tiny wormholes, barely visible.Unbacked.
Dimensions: ôban diptych (37.2 x 51 cm)
Publisher: Kiyoimidzu-ya Naojirô
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga with his paulownia seal