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Shibakuni (芝國)

Nakamura Sankô I as Tôza nyôbô [wife] Okaru in Kamakura sandaiki, Kado Theater, Osaka
Saikôtei Shibakuni
No artist seal
Wataya Kihei (flower seal) and Ariwaradô Chûbei (mark below Wataki's flower seal)
(H x W)
Ôban ôkubi-e nishiki-e
37.5 x 24.7 cm
Very good
Very good color; good condition (unbacked; some creases and rubbing; lower right corner expertly repaired)
Price (USD/¥):
$1,440 / Contact us to pay in yen (¥)

Order/Inquiry: SHB01


Kamakura sandaiki dramatizes the fall of Osaka Castle in 1615, a popular subject in literature and theater. The sekai (world or setting) of the action was, of course, thinly disguised to avoid censorship of events involving the Tokugawa. So the jidaimono (history play) was set back in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) and chronicles the battle over Sakamoto Castle. Okaru is the wife of a farmer named Adachi Tôzaburô, whose identity is taken by the Genji general Sasaki Takatsuna, a comrade of the mortally wounded warrior Sakamoto Miuranosuke Yoshimura, who is engaged to Princess Toki of the enemy Heike clan. Toki is sympathetic to the Genji cause, but is summoned back by her father, the Heike general Hôjô Tokimasa (a theatrical stand-in for Tokugawa Ieyasu). A series of complications ensue, and then, realizing their cause is hopeless, Miuranosuke urges Toki to kill her father and then herself, whereupon he returns to battle to die. Takatsuna, still in disguise and pretending to be an ally of the Heike, informs Toki that he will spare her from following Miuranosuke's wishes by assassinating Tokimasa himself. Torn between loyalty to her father and her beloved, Toki substitutes herself, tricking Takatsuna into beheading her. When he realizes his mistake, he, too, takes his own life.


Shibakuni's design mimics an oshi-e (color-patchwork picture); here, a padded-fabric design pasted on a hagoita (battledore). Popular as a New Year's decoration, oshi-e was also an early Kamigata word for full-color prints (synonymous with the Edo term nishiki-e).

大判 大首絵 (37.5 x 24.7 cm)