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Kunihiro (國廣)

Nakamura Utaemon III (中村歌右衛門 [三代目]) as Kanda Yogorô (神田与五郎) and Ichikawa Ebijûrô I (市川鰕十郎 [初代]) as Teraoka Heiemon (寺岡平右衛門) in Ôishizuri sakura tanzaku at the Naka no Shibai, Osaka
Kunihiro ga
No artist seals
Tenki (Tenmaya Kihei: 天満屋喜兵衞)
(H x W)
Oban nishiki-e
39.4 x 26.9 cm
Very good, with embossing
Excellent color, and very good condition, unbacked; reinforced crease to left of Ichikawa's name, repaired wormhole lower edge, slight dog ear lower left corner
Price (USD/¥):
$415 / Contact us to pay in yen (¥)

Order/Inquiry (Ref #KUH36)


Ôishizuri sakura tanzaku (大西摺桜花短冊) may be translated as "Oishi's stone rubbing, a poem card, and cherry blossoms." Although the plot remains unknown, some role names (such as the virtuous wives Oishi and Osono, or Okaru's brother, Teraoka Heiemon), which are inscribed on prints produced by various artists for this 3/1822 production, suggest that the plot was adapted from the most famous of all revenge plays, Kanadehon chûshingura (Copybook of the treasury of loyal retainers: 假名手本忠臣蔵). The production was announced as a big hit (ôatari: 大当) on other woodblock prints, and it proved to be quite a popular subject for leading artists such as Kunihiro, Hokushû and his pupils Shunchô and Shunsho (later Shun'yô), and Yoshikuni and his pupils Mitsukuni and Hikokuni.


The two, protagonists have drawn their wakizashi (short swords: 脇差), with Utaemon holding his wakizashi clenched between his teeth and Ebijûrô raising his above his head. Chônin (townsmen: 町人) were permitted to wear short swords, but not katana (long swords: 刀), which were reserved for samurai.

The yellow ground is well preserved in this impression and overall the colors are very good. The size is exceptional, with borders visible at the top and left. Another impression is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (11.36012).

References: MFAB, accession #11.36012