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Hironobu (廣信)

Onoe Tamizô II (尾上多見蔵) as Benkei (弁慶) in Miyako meisho Genji awase (Illustrated comparisons of famous Genji in the capital, 都名所源氏絵合), Kado Theater (角の芝居), Osaka
Hironobu HNB12
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Hironobu ga (廣信画)
No artist seal
Uchitora (内寅)
(H x W)
chûban diptych nishiki-e
26.0 x 19.5 cm
Excellent with metallics, burnishing
Excellent color, unbacked; small light stain on left cheek, scattered marks and very light creases
Price (USD/¥):
$365 / Contact us to pay in yen (¥)

Order/Inquiry: Ref #HNB12



Miyako meisho Genji awase (Illustrated comparisons of famous Genji in the capital, 都名所源氏絵合) may also be read as "Famous places in Kyoto matched with Genji." Details of the plot remain unknown to us, but it is obviously a jidaimono ("period piece" or history play, 時代物). The drama includes a storyline featuring a dramatized version of the historical warrior monk Saitô Masashibô Benkei (西塔武蔵坊弁慶 1155–1189) who served the celebrated military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源義経, c. 1159-1189) after Yoshitsune had defeated him in a duel at the Gojô Bridge (五条大橋) in Kyoto. Legends about Benkei touted him as seven to eight feet tall and as strong as 100 samurai. Both Benkei and Yoshitsune were wildly popular in Japanese literature, theater, art, and culture.


In Hironobu's design, Benkei carries his seven "gruesome" or deadly weapons — a huge two-prong arrow (karimata, 雁股), three-prong grappling hook on a shaft (kanabô, 金棒), large-blade saw (nokogiri, 鋸), oversized mallet (dai-tsuchi 大槌), a smaller type of sickle or scythe (kama, 鎌), a broad axe (masakari, 斧), and a halberd or pole sword (naginata, 長刀 or 薙刀).

The printing of this deluxe chûban ôkubi-e is particularly fine, with vivid colors, metallic pigment, and elaborate patterns on the robes. The surviving margins are exceptionally wide as well.

References: KNP, p. 113