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Archive: Sadamasu 貞升 (later Kunimasu 國升)

Description:
Arashi Rikan II as Kagekiyo in a mitate (analogue) of one of the Kagekiyo mono (Kagekiyo plays)
Signature:
Utagawa Sadamasu ga
Seals:
Seal
Publisher:
Fujita
Date:
Possibly circa 1833
Format:
(H x W)
Deluxe ôban (right sheet of a diptych)
38.0 x25.5 cm
Impression:
Excellent
Condition:
Excellent color, very good condition (extensive metallics; embossing; unbacked; tiny repaired wormhole to right of Rikan's name; very minor creases)
Price (USD/¥):
SOLD
Inquiry
: KMS11 
Comments:
Background

Dramatizations involving Kagekiyo were based on the historical Heike general Taira no Kagekiyo, nicknamed "Akushichibyoe" (bad man of the seventh degree) for killing his uncle (whom he mistook for his enemy, Minamoto no Yoritomo). Although a formidable warrior, he was captured after the pivotal naval battle at Dannoura in 1185 when the Genji clan, led by Yoritomo (1147–99), defeated the Heike forces. Exiled to a cave on Hyûga Island, Kagekiyo died of starvation in 1195.

Design

Demonstrating once again why the best Osaka prints are celebrated for their quality of design and execution, Sadamasu's composition was cut and printed with formidable skill, featuring eye-catching patterning in the robes and brilliant use of metallics, all set against an atmospheric night sky. Kagekiyo holds an amigasa (woven hat made of rush or straw) indicating he is on the move and will use the hat to hide the face.

The publisher's seal incorporates the character ta under a mountain peak to read "Fujita"; below that is the seal for the blockcutter Kumazô (hori Kuma) and printer Oto (suri Oto).