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Shigeharu (重春)

Miyo (みよ) of the Izutsuya (いずつや) as a hachitaki ("bowl beater": 鉢叩) , from the series Osaka Naniwa Shimanouchi nerimono (Costume parade in Shimanouchi, Osaka: 浪花嶋之内ねりもの)
Ryûsai Shigeharu ga (柳斎重春画)
Artist seal unread
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
37.6 x 26.4 cm
Excellent color and very good condition, unbacked; small repaired paper and light smudge lower edge, embedded hair near left elbow
Price (USD/¥):
$875 / Contact us to pay in yen (¥)

Order/Inquiry (Ref #SGH44)


North of the canal from Osaka's Dôtonbori (道頓堀) theater district was an area called Shimanouchi (島の内), the city's largest unofficial pleasure quarter. Shimanouchi hosted an annual parade early each summer, identified here as Naniwa Shinmanouchi nerimono (Costume parade in Shimanouchi, Osaka: 浪花島の内ねり物). It featured waitresses, geisha, and courtesans dressed in costumes while performing skits or pantomimes about well-known figures from contemporary society, theater, history, and legend. In this colorful pageant the women were accompanied by decorative floats carrying musicians and dancers.


Shigeharu, Kunihiro, and Yoshikuni all designed prints for this series. The year 1833 has been proposed as a publication date by some writers, but the foremost scholar of kamigata-e, Susumu Matsudaira (1933-2000), assigned a date of 1828 in the Ikeda Bunko catalog (see the IBKYS-II reference below). The large red circular seal, its form so much like the oversized artist seals that were in vogue during this period, may be an unidentified sponsor's mark appearing on prints by all three artists.

Kamiagata-e are overwhelmingly images of actors from the kabuki theater (yakusha-e, actor prints: 役者絵). Among the most notable exceptions are the bijinga (beautiful women prints: 美人画) inspired by various nerimono in Osaka and Kyoto. Prints commemorating the Gion nerimono parade in Kyoto enjoyed popularity c. 1812-22, but their format was hososban and they were kappazuri-e (stencil prints: 合羽摺絵). Osaka got a late start and flirted only occasionally with the nerimono genre, but their efforts, like the Shigeharu featured here, were lavish ôban nishiki-e. The series Naniwa Shinmanouchi nerimono ranks high among these productions.

Miyo is dressed as a hachi-tataki (lit., "bowl beater,": 鉢叩), an itinerant lay priest (often of the Nenbutsu sect, a follower of Pure Land Buddhism) who roamed the streets begging for alms while beating a metal bowl, kettle, bell, or other object. Some hachi-tataki would recite the nenbutsu prayer while striking their sundry objects.

References: IKBYS-II, no. 50 (another design from the series, dated 6/1828); SDK, no. 196; OSP, no. 261 (dated later to ca. 1833); WKN (Nakade), no. 198 (dated to 1828)