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Archive: Hirosada (廣貞)

(R) Nakamura Tomozô (中村友三) as Yaheiji (弥平次) and (L) Kataoka Gadô II (二代目片岡我童) as Sasahara Hayato (笹原隼人) in Act 4 of Hana momiji Ogura no shikishi ( 花楓小倉の色紙), Naka Theater, Osaka; Print Title: Ogura no shikishi, maki no shi (Act 4 of Ogura no shikishi: 小倉の色紙 巻ノ四)
Hirosada (廣貞)
Artist seal: Sada (貞)
Kinkadô Konishi (金花堂小西)
(H x W)
Uncut horizontal ôban nishiki-e
24.7 x 36.8 cm
Excellent deluxe edition with abundant applications of metallics
Excellent color very good condition, unbacked thick paper; mild vertical centerfold
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: HSD67


Hana momiji Ogura no shikishi (Flowering maple and Ogura's colored paper: 花楓小倉の色紙) appears to be an adaptation of an earlier play titled Koi momiji Ogura no shikishi (Deep maple and colored paper of the Ogura clan: 濃紅葉小倉色紙), which premiered at the Naka Theater, Osaka, in 9/1816. It is one of various plays, both in kabuki and bunraku (puppet theater: 文楽 or ningyô jôruri 人形淨瑠璃), called Ogasawara sôdô mono (Plays about the Ogasawara disturbances: 小笠原騒動物). These plays recount the tale of the Ogasawara family who were part of the Ogura clan in Bizen province. In the play the military forces of the Inugami attempt to overthrow the Sasahara (the theatrical name for the Ogasawara). However, Sasehara Hayato leads the opposition, aided by a fox with magical powers, in a successful counterattack to defeat the Inugami.


This dynamic design features, among other things, a realistic portrayal of an actor in a fox costume (the creature's head sits atop the actor's while he views the action through thin material covering the fox's neck). Kitsunebi (fox fires: 狐火), a type of shinka (spirit flame: 神火), hover in the moonlit sky, flickering about Gadô II, indicating the presence of a supernatural being, namely, the fox. Playgoers thoroughly enjoyed the acrobatic keren (stage tricks: 外連) executed by the actor performing as the fox.

This delightful design captures most effectively the playful spirit of kabuki and the artful guises taken on by secondary actors who brought finely wrought but narrowly focused skills to the stage.

Another impression is in the Musuem of Fine Arts, Boston (11.35589).

References: KNP-6, p. 561; NKE, p. 485