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Hasegawa Munehiro (長谷川宗廣)

(1R) Jitsukawa Enzaburô I as Hosokawa Katsumoto, (2R) Onoe Tamizô II as Kitagawa Sozaemon, (3R) Fujikawa Tomokichi as Chirotae, (4R) Nakamura Jakuemon as Yaman Sozen in Keisei ama no hagoromo, Naka Theater, Osaka
Artist Seal: Munehiro; Block Cutter: hori Gen
No publisher seal
(H x W)
Deluxe chûban nishiki-e triptych
25.0 x 54.0 cm
Excellent deluxe edition with metallics and embossing on thick paper
Excellent color, unbacked; light vertical album crease and blue pigment transfer in R and C sheets, two pinholes filled on left sheet, rubbing in one lower corner of each sheet
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry (Ref #MUH02)


The play title Keisei ama no hagoromo (A courtesan and the heavenly feather robe: 契情天羽衣) is given in the cartouche on the right sheet. It appears to be a kabuki adaptation or partial appropriation of the drama Hagoromo (The feather mantle: 羽衣). The kabuki version was written in 1753 by Namiki Shôzô I (並木正三), 1730–1773, a prolific and innovative Japanese playwright who produced roughly 100 works for Bunraku (puppet theater: 文楽) and kabuki. He also perfected the mawaributai (revolving stage: 回り舞台) in 1758 and popularized the use of seriage ("lifting trap" or trapdoors: セリ上げ). Moreover, Shôzô I pioneered the use of the samisen-tayû combination (chobo = samisen player accompanying the chanter) adapted from the puppet theater for kabuki.

The drama features a tennin (an aerial spirit or celestial dancer: 天人) who witnesses Hakuryû, a fisherman, take her feather robe that she had hung from a tree in a pine grove on Miho Beach. She is desperate to have her garment back, as she cannot return to heaven without it. At first the fisherman refuses, but finally relents if she will show him her dance. She accepts, and he is delighted by what he sees. In the finale, the tennin slowly disappears in mist. In some kabuki productions of this scene, the tennin flies off with the aid of chûnori ("middle riding": 中乗り), a theatrical term for “flying” with the aid of a wire harnessed to a metal fitting in the actor’s costume.


Munehiro's scene introduces another stock vignette from and kabuki, the lion dance or Shakkyo ("Stone Bridge": 石橋), which refers to the bridge in the play Shakkyô when a traveler falls asleep beside a stone bridge and dreams of a lion dancing among peonies. The genre of shishi mai (lion dances: 獅子舞) is called shakkyô mono (石橋物) and derive from ancient gigaku dances (伎楽).

This triptych, which appears to be unrecorded in the standard literature, includes extensive simulated gold (copper-rich brass) on all three sheets. The central attraction is Onoe Tamizô II bedecked in a lion costume.

References: NKE, pp. 63 and 142