Yoshitoshi 芳年: Nakamura Shikan IV as Kato Kiyomasa 中村芝翫 加藤清正

  • $3,800.00
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 芳年 (1839-1892)
Title: Nakamura Shikan IV as Kato Kiyomasa 中村芝翫 加藤清正
Date: 1867, 8th month

Fierce portrait of Kato Kiyomasa 加藤清正 played by Nakamura Shikan IV 中村芝翫4in the Kabuki performance “かい音全七字旗いろ“ (Kachidoki kachidoki shichiji no hata iro) held at the Nakamura-za中村座 in August 1867. He fixes us with his fierce glare, filling both pages with his presence, bearing full battle regalia and firmly grasping a pole arm weapon. There are two versions of this print: one with the background in blue 藍潰しand  one with the background in red, as here 赤潰し. Later it was published as a warrior print, musha-e 武者絵 after his face had been changed by re-carving and the publishers seal was removed. At the back on his personal standard is written: “Namu Amida Butsu 南無阿弥陀仏”, a prayer to Amida Buddha (or perhaps nanmu myoho). On his breast we see his mon, a large ring that symbolized the eye of the serpent. Kato Kiyomasa (1562-1611) was a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the unifying military rulers of Japan. Since Kiyomasa participated in an invasion campaign of Korea, he is often considered a symbol of Japanese nationalism at a time when Japan was forging its identity on the international stage in the late 19th century. The vertical diptych is an unusual format for actor portraits; after 1885 Yoshitoshi created a spectacular series of 15 vertical diptychs which are considered some of his finest designs. Oban vertical diptych大判縦二枚続 as hanging picture “kakemono-e掛物絵”. Very scarce; no other examples with the red background have been found online.

Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good/good condition. Top sheet has some discoloration along right edge and discoloration on face. The bottom sheet has a repair at the bottom left corner. Light backing.
Dimensions: ôban vertical diptych (73 x 24.9 cm)
Publisher: Maru-Jin 丸甚 Maru-ya Jinpachi
Literature: See the Worcester Art Museum for their example with an indigo background. Keyes number 199; Van den Ing and Schaap 1992, number 42. See Uhlenbeck and Newland (2011), number 55 page 91.
Signature: Oju Kaisai Yoshitoshi