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Archive: Ashiyuki

Description:
Arashi Kitsusaburô II as Watônai and Arashi Koroku IV as Komutsu in Kokusenya Kassen, Naka Theater, Osaka
Signature:
Ashiyuki ga
Seals:
Seal
Publisher:
Honsei (Honya Seishichi)
Date:
9/1824
Format:
(H x W)
Ôban diptych
R: 35.0 x 24.0 cm
L: 36.0 x 24.2 cm
Impression:
Good
Condition:
Good color; good condition (unbacked; light horizontal centerfold; light rubbing along bottom edge);
Note: Uneven edges due to the crepe-making process
Price (USD/¥):
Comments:
Background

The play Kokusenya kassen, written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1724), has long been considered a masterpiece of the puppet theater (bunraku). First staged in 1715, it remains unsurpassed as the most successful play in the history of the puppet theater.

The hero Watônai Sankan, a fisherman by trade, was also the son of a former Ming minister who had been exiled to Japan. Trained in military strategy, Watônai travels to China to aid a princess named Sendan, younger sister of the Chinese emperor murdered by the Tartars, where he fights to fulfill his father's promise to restore the Ming dynasty and place Sendan on the throne.

Design

A rare example of a chirimen-gama-e (crepe print) — (very few chirimen-gami-e have survived from the earlier periods of Osaka printmaking.; see How were crepe prints made?