Kuniyoshi: Actors as Cats as the Lovers Oshun and Denbei
Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Title: Actors as Cats as the Lovers Oshun and Denbei
Series: “Fashionable Cat Frolics” (Ryûkû neko no tawamure)
Date: ca. 1847-1850
From a series of mitate-e in which kabuki actors are personified by cats. The two actors shown are playing the lovers Oshun and Denbei. The ill-fated couple had numerous plays written about them after their double love suicide in 1703. The portraits could almost be called nuanced--only Kuniyoshi had the skills to pull this off so perfectly. The courtesan Oshun is applying makeup in front of her mirror. Her washing towel is over her shoulder and the water basin by her side. Denbei has his flamboyantly-arrayed scarf at his neck, one masculine paw on his sword-hilt.
Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition.
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
Literature: See “Heroes & Ghosts” plate 233 for another print from this series.
Signature: Ichiryûsai Kuniyoshi ga