fan crest   title
Home •  Main Sales Gallery •  Current Sales •  Archives
Articles •  Varia •  Glossary •  Biographies •  Bibliography
Search •  Video •  Contact Us •  Conditions of Sale •  Links
 

Archive: Hokumyô (北妙)

Description:
(R) [Ichikawa] Hakuen II as Ôtomo no Kuronushi and Baigyoku [Nakamura Utaemon III] as Bun'ya Yasuhide; (M) [Nakamura] Matsue III as Ono no Komachi and [Nakamura] Shikan II as Kisen Hôshi; (L) [Onoe] Baikô III as Sôjô Henjô and [Arashi] Rikan II as Ariwara no Narihira in a mitate of the Rokkasen, unknown performance and theater
Signature:
(R) Hokumyô ga; (M and L) Shunpu ga
Seals:
Artist seal: none
Publisher:
Kichi
Date:
Circa 1830s
Format:
(H x W)
Koban triptych nishiki-e
17.5 x 12.1 cm
Impression:
Very good (deluxe edition with metallics)
Condition:
Good color and condition (Unbacked; minor rubbing; very slight soil)
Price (USD/¥):
SOLD

Inquiry (Ref #HKM02)

Comments:
Background

The Rokkasen (Six Immortal Poets: 六歌仙) were ninth-century literary giants whose names were first linked together in the poetic anthology Kokin wakashû (Collection of ancient and modern poems: 古今集) in 905 AD. The term kasen (immortals of waka, 和歌, or Japanese poems) was derived from the Chinese term shixian (Immortals of poems: 詩仙) and may have been adopted for the Rokkasen by the mid-10th century. There were various dance plays performed (in Edo), such as Rokkasen sugata no irodori (Six immortal poets in the guises of love) in 3/1834. A much earlier Osaka version called Yosooi rokkasen (Six poets in colorful attire) was staged in 1789 by Arashi Hinasuke I (1741-96). For a later version, Nakamura Shikan II retained Hinasuke’s structure but had the play re-choreographed and set to new music. The dances were fanciful mixtures of modernized domestic tales (mostly involving unrequited love for Komachi) and historical legends. The dance roles were usually performed in the manner of hengemono (transformation pieces) employing hayagawari (quick-change techniques).

Design

The artist signed the sheets with two different signatures, Shunpu and Hokumyô. The Naniwa Shoryû gajin meika annai (Guide to the many famous contemporary artists of Osaka), circa 1831, cites a "Shunpusai Hokumyô" as an actor portraitist living in Dôjima, Osaka.

The dating of this work (and a few other kobans cited in the literature) is based on the likelihood that it was published circa 1830 or 1834, when Ichikawa Danjûrô VII performed briefly during separate tours in Osaka under the name Ichikawa Hakuen. Even so, this appears to be a mitate-e (analogue print), a composition depicting actors in roles not performed in a known production.

Each sheet bears the title Rokkasen (六歌仙) within the cartouches enclosing the role and actor names. Complete sets of koban designs such as this one are rare.

Note: Osaka koban designs are very uncommon. Our example is unrecorded in the standard literature.

摺り良好(デラックス金摺り版)、色彩、保存状態ともに良し(裏打ちなし、擦れ部分少々、極少の汚れ)

References: NKE, p. 532