Kuniyoshi: Woman Studying a Theater Program; Act IX of the Chushingura (kyû-dan) (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)
Title: Woman Studying a Theater Program: Act IX of the Chûshingura (kyû-dan)
Series: Mitate Inspired by the Play Chûshingura (mitate chôchin-gura)
Date: 1847-53

A woman and her child have put aside their ruler and scissors from an unfinished cut-out print project to study a theater program, as their male servant looks over their shoulder. In the large lantern at right we see a character from 47 Ronin history, “Honzo”. This gently humorous mitate series compares daily activities to chapters of the 47 Ronin, or the story of the Chushingura. We see the main figures of the chapters from Kabuki “Chûshin-gura” on lanterns on the right top--however the title of prints  is a phonetically similar “chôchin,” meaning a lantern instead of “chûshin,” loyal retainers. 

In this charming and homey scene, a young beauty, her little boy, and a household servant are studying a theater program, one that perhaps advertises the Chushingura play itself. The inset shows Honzô, who as he is dying, hands over the plans of Moronao’s house to the other ronin. The theater program in this print is thus a mitate (parody) of the house plan from the story. The unusual perspective of the man’s face is a special talent of Kuniyoshi’s (as well as his pupil Yoshitoshi.)

Publisher: Yamamoto-ya Heikichi
Seal: censors’ seals: Muramatsu & Yoshimura (1847-53)
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga

Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. Tiny repaired wormage and some surface dirt and minor creases..

LIterature: Pictured in “Heroes & Ghosts”, page 138, plate 143.