Yoshiiku: Kabuki Portrait of Bando Mitsugoro that Imitates a Photograph (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Ochiai Yoshiiku
Title: Portrait of Bando Mitsugoro in the Style of a Photograph
Series: Mirror of Photographs of Actors (Haiyu shashin kyo)
Date: 1870

Unusual woodblock print portrait of Bando Mitsugoro VI in the role of Arajishi Otokonosuke that imitates a photograph. The experimental style shows the impact that photography was having on printmaking. As woodblock prints had been produced for hundreds of years featuring actor portraits, this series presents an interesting turnaround of an ancient method imitating a modern medium. There are no keyblock outlines, and the more realistic presentation of the face and garments as well as the soft coloration all imitate the hand-colored photographs of the period. There is a very soft effect of extra shininess that also mimics photo paper. Cameras arrived in quantity in Japan when the country opened up to foreigners in the 1850s. This must be the “Below the Floor” scene from the kabuki play “Meiboku Sendai Hagi”, where Otokonosuke raises his heavy iron fan to hit the evil, magical rat, whose true form is the archvillain Nikki Danjo.

Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. Right margin mostly trimmed and some light wrinkles.
Dimensions: ôban (35.4 x 22.7 cm)
Publisher: Kiya Sojiro
Seal: Carver: Horitake
Signature: Ikkeisai Yoshiiku hitsu