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Archive: Hikokuni (彦國)

Description:
Nakamura Utaemon III as Tashirô Yasubei in Ôishizuri sakura tanzaku, Naka no Shibai, Osaka
Signature:
Hikokuni ga
Seals:
No artist seals
Publisher:
Toshin (Toshikuraya Shinbei)
Date:
3/1822
Format:
(H x W)
Oban nishiki-e
37.8 x 25.6 cm
Impression:
Excellent
Condition:
Excellent  color, embossing, unbacked; paper flaw along bottom edge, repaired binding holes along left edge
Price (USD/¥):
SOLD

Inquiry HKK02

Comments:
Background

Although the plot for Ôishizuri sakura tanzaku (Ôishi’s stone rubbing, a poem card, and flowering cherry: 大西摺桜花短冊) remains unknown, some role names (such as the virtuous wives Oishi and Osono, or Okaru's brother, Teraoka Heiemon) inscribed on prints by several artists for this production suggest that the story line was adapted from the most famous of all revenge plays, Kanadehon chûshingura (Copybook of the Treasury of Loyal Retainers). Other designs for this performance by Hokushû and Yoshikuni further identify Utaemon's role as genin [servant] Yasuke jitsu ha [actually] Tashirô Yasubei. For this play, Utaemon also performed the role of the wine-shop merchant Amakawaya Igo (later called Yatô Yomoshichi).

Design

Hikokuni was probably a student of Yoshikuni and a member of his master's Jukôdô artist and poetry circle. The publisher Toshin was apparently closely allied with the Jukôdô.

For other designs from this same performance, se SHC03 and YSK16.

Provenance: This impression is from the Haber Collection, illustrated in Schwaab (Osaka Prints, 1989, no. 48). Prints from this collection are admired for their fine color, as here, with the salmon of the sky and purple in the robe very well preserved.

References: OSP, no. 48