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Archive: Sadamasu 貞升 (later Kunimasu 國升)

Description:
Mimasu Gennosuke I as Nuregami Chôgorô in Futatsu chôchô kuruwa no nikki at the Naka no Shibai, Osaka
Signature:
Sadamasu ga (貞升画)
Seals:
No artist seal
Publisher:
No publisher's seal (possibly Izutsuya Denbei)
Date:
3/1840
Format:
(H x W)
Deluxe chûban nishiki-e
25.5 x 18.0 cm
Impression:
Excellent deluxe impression with furikake (sprinkling with metallics: 振掛) and karazuri ("empty printing" or embossing: 空摺)
Condition:
Excellent color, good condition, unbacked; four small filled wormholes in margins, two pinholes along left margin, some rubbing and soil
Price (USD/¥):
SOLD

Inquiry: KMS27

Comments:
Background

Futatsu chôchô kuruwa nikki (Diary of two butterflies in the pleasure quarters: 双蝶々曲輪日記) is a tale of two sumô wrestlers, Hanaregoma Chôkichi, and Nuregami Chôgorô (who appears on this sheet). [Note the pun in the play title, as both names include the character for chô, "butterfly."] The central theme involves an attempt to thwart the ransom of a courtesan named Azuma (sister of keisei Miyako) by the evil samurai Hiraoka Goemon (also Chôkichi's patron) in favor of Chôgorô's sponsor, Yogorô, whom Azuma loves. Yogorô bribes Chôgorô to throw a sumô match against Chôkichi in the hope of enlisting the latter's help in stopping Goemon, but even after being handed a false victory, Chôkichi refuses to violate his patron's wishes. Afterwards, however, in a scene in which Chôgorô prevents Chôkichi from committing seppuku (ritual suicide, lit., "incision of the abdomen": 切腹) over shame for falling into dissipation, the two wrestlers become "brothers," and then Chôkichi returns the favor by aiding Chôgorô in his escape after he murders four men trying to steal Azuma for Goemon.

Design

Sadamasu has effectively captured the readiness, bulk, and power of the wrestler Chôgorô in his huge shoulders, bent upper torso, and determined stare (mie, 見得).

References: IKBYS-III, no. 127; NKE, p. 105