Toyokuni II: Onoe Kikugoro-o 尾上菊五郎 With Folding Fan

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Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni II (1777-1835)
Title: Onoe Kikugoro-o 尾上菊五郎 With Fan and printed brocade border
Date: ca 1828-1829

Okubi-e (bust portrait) of the actor Onoe Kikugoro-o III, depicted holding a fan with an image of a blossoming plum branch. His coat also bears a pattern of plum blossoms, also referring to his names--the name Bai-ko-o or his poet name Bai-ju, carry the character “Bai,” meaning plum.  On his coat we see a large crest with chrysanthemums and leaves of oak--these symbols relate to  his name Kikugoro-o, “Kiku” meaning chrysanthemum and oak leaves for the Otowa-ya Clan, to which the Onoe Family belongs.

This portrait of the Kabuki actor Onoe Kikugoro-o III 三代目尾上菊五郎(1784-1849) of the Otowa-ya 音羽屋 is accompanied by a poem by Jippensha Ikku十返舎一九 (1765-1831). Onoe Kikuguro-o III is one of the four famous Kabuki actors who were credited with manifesting the golden age of Kabuki during the Bunka-Bunsei Period (1804-30).  Kikugoro-o first received the name Baiko-o III 三代目尾上梅幸 in 1814, and the following year he inherited the name Kikugoro-o III 三代目菊五郎. In 1825 the blockbuster play “Tôkaidô Yotsuya Kaidan”(Tokaido Yotsuya Ghost Tale) was written for him by Tsuruya Nanboku IV and was played  at Nakamura-za, Edo. Acting three roles with quick-change technique in this drama, Kikugorô fascinated the public and became a great hit. At the height of his fame he retired in 1847 after a final performance at the Ichimura-za, “Onoe Baiju Ichidai Banashi (Life Story of Onoe Baiju) ” named after him. Upon retirement he changed his name to Kiku-ya Manpei 菊屋万平 and opened a mochi shop in Saruwaka-cho. However he returned to Kabuki later and took on the name, O-okawa Hashizo-o. In 1848 on the way back to Edo from Osaka, he fell ill and died at Kakegawa.

     A poem by Jippensha Ikkyu on top indicates “Otowa-ya”, though the rest of the poem cannot be deciphered. With thanks to Michiko Sato-Grube for her research on this work.

Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. Areas of wormage.
Dimensions: ôban (38.7 x 25.9 cm)
Publisher: Echizen-ya Kihei
Signature: Toyokuni ga