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Archive: Ichijusai Kunitsuru (一壽齋國鶴); Utagawa Toyoshige II (二代目 歌川豊國)

Kanô Hinasuke VI as Adachi Tomotsuna, jitsu ha (actually) wakatô [young retainer] Gunsuke in an unidentified performance
Kunitsuru ga
No artist seal
Tenki (Tenmaya Kihei: 天満屋喜兵衞)
Circa autumn 1835
(H x W)
38.2 x 25.9 cm
Very good
Very good color; good condition (unbacked; small spot to left of cartouche; two pinholes off the image)
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: KNT01


Utagawa (Ichijusai) Kunitsuru (一壽齋國鶴 1807-78; family name Wada 和田; personal name Yasugorô 安五郎; later art name Utagawa Toyoshige II, 二代目 歌川豊重). Kunitsuru was a student of Utagawa Toyokuni II, 一代目 歌川豊國 (Toyoshige I, 一代目 豊重, 1775-1835), visited Osaka in 1835, so we assume this print was issued about that time. Born in Tsukuji, Edo, Kunitsuru lived and worked for a while in Osaka before returning to Edo. His residences are known to include Asakusa Hanakawadô; a nagaya in Tozawa; lodging with Niikado Shingorô; and Shitaya Kotoku-ji Yokochô (after the earthquake of 1855). He moved to Yokohama some time in the 1860s to Hon-mura, then Basha-dô; after the Yokohama fire to Okina-machi. Around 1877 he ran a bookstore in Yoshida-chô. Except for the present Osaka design, his known works are actor prints in the Utagawa style and Yokohama-e. He also provided designs for kimono embroideries, votive plaques, picture lanterns, and tattoos.

Roundel portraits were understood to be both reflections of actors in mirrors and telescopic close-ups of mie (climactic poses) on the stage. Moreover, the floral elements placed behind the roundel evokes tenjômaku (天井幕) or "ceiling curtains," portraits inside medallions with floral backgrounds on cloth that were given as gifts to actors.

大判(38.2 x 25.9 cm)