Yoshitoshi: Actor Otani Tomoemon as Miura no Suke 三浦之助 四代目 大谷友右衛門 (SOLD)

  • Sold.

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title:  Actor Otani Tomoemon as Miura no Suke 三浦之助 四代目 大谷友右衛門

Date: 7/1865

Dramatic portrait of the actor Otani Tomoemon IV in the role of a samurai from the Miura clan (probably Sakamoto Miura no Suke Yoshimura), shown in the heat of a battle with arrows protruding from his back and hands grasping his large bow. The Miura clan was one of the branch families descended from the Taira (Heike) clan. They supported Minamoto no Yoritomo in the Kamakura Shogunate until they were defeated by Hojo Tokiyori in 1247. It is possible that this is from the play Kamakura Sandaiki, a play that was originally in ten acts, although only one act has survived to the present day. As the work says “Fourth Generation”, this may be a type of tribute print to the late Tomoemon IV, who was being succeeded by Tomoemon V in 1865.

Yoshitoshi’s early actor prints are rather scarce compared to his later warrior prints and bijin-ga, and here we see his talent at capturing a dramatic moment. Miura no Suke’s facial expression is heightened by his full and untamed hair, which flows outward from the concentrated focus of his eyes, which are outlined in blue and which have a lovely purple shading that goes up to his eyebrows. In the early 1860s we can assume that Yoshitoshi was still “proving” himself as an artist, so each design of his is very carefully considered in these early years.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Beautifully printed, with mica embellishment in the sky above.

Dimensions: ôban
Publisher: Seibundo Masakichi

Literature:  Unlisted in Keyes; would be next to 142.  MFA, Boston, accession no. 11.37609

Signature:  Gyokuo Yoshitoshi hitsu