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Archive: Chikakuni (千歌國)

Hyakumura Hyakutarô I as yakko [servant] Sagohei in Ane imoto date no ôkido, Ônishi no Shibai
Yoshikuni monjin Chikakuni ga (よし国門人千歌国画)
No artist seal
Toshin (Toshikuraya Shinbei) and Iden (Izutsuya Denbei)
Circa 4-6/1822
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
38.0 x 25.5 cm
Excellent color, unbacked; a few paper flaws (short indentations, incision), small abrasion on green cloak
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: CKU01 


Ane imôto date no ôkido (姉妹達大礎), premiering in 1795, was a Kamigata adaptation of the Edo-based play Go taiheiki shiraishi banashi (Story of Shiraishi and the chronicles of peace: 碁太平記白石噺) of 1780. The Edo version was a mixture of two dramas, one based on a failed rebellion in 1651 led by Yui Shôsetsu (1605-51) against the ten-year-old shogun Ietsuna, and the other a vendetta in 1723 carried on by two sisters. Onobu and her courtesan sister, Miyagino of the Daikokuya in Shin Yoshiwara, vow to avenge their father's murderer, a village magistrate named Daishichi Shiga, whose villainy also caused their mother to die from grief. The brothel proprietor, Soroku, urges them to learn martial arts from Uji Jôsetsu (the theatrical stand-in for Yui Shôsetsu). Onobu studies fencing and changes her name to Shinobu. Aided by Jôsetsu, the sisters exact their revenge.


The signature identifies Chikakuni as a pupil (monjin: 門人) of Yoshikuni. The inscription at the lower left reads hiiki komatsu kichi (ヒイいき小松吉), meaning "theater fan Komatsu Kichi" (possibly an admirer who commissioned the print for a favorite actor).

Provenance: This impression is from the Haber Collection, illustrated in Schwaab (Osaka Prints, 1989, no. 61). Prints from this collection are admired for their fine color preservation, and often for their rarity, as with this artist and subject.

References: OSP, no. 61; IBKYS-II, no. 177; KSTZ, no. 53