Yoshiiku: The Ghost of Oiwa Emerging from a Lantern

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Artist: Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Title: The Ghost of Oiwa Emerging from a Lantern
Date: ca. Early Meiji Period

An actor as the ghost of Oiwa emerges from a lantern upper left, clutching her hair as she peers down at the actor as the villain Tamiya Iemon in the inset lower right. In life Iemon had been the husband of Oiwa, but to get rid of her he poisoned her with a cream that disfigured her, causing her eye to droop and her hair to fall out. She was driven to suicide, and from thence forth she haunted the irredeemable Iemon until he was driven to madness. A flame appears in between them, which was ukiyo-e shorthand for showing the presence of a supernatural being. The characters are from Japan’s most famous ghost story, “Tokaido Yotsuya-kaidan”. The format of this work seems similar to that of kuchi-e, but kuchi-e (frontispieces accompanying serialized novels) don’t really appear until about 1890, and this seems to date from earlier in the Meiji period. In any event, it is a terrific ghost design.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: 22 x 26.3 cm