Original Sadanobu (1809 - 1879) Japanese Woodblock Print
The Arrival of the Seven Lucky Gods' Treasure Ship, 1877
Osaka Prints - Produced in the Kansai region, including Osaka and Kyoto, Osaka prints or kamigata-e are instantly distinguishable from typical Edo ukiyo-e. A major difference is the choice of subject matter. Osaka prints were nearly always portraits of actors or kabuki scenes. In contrast, Edo print subjects included beauties, landscapes, nature scenes, warriors, and historic events, in addition to kabuki.
Distinctly different artistic styles also emerged in Edo and Osaka in the 18th and 19th century, resulting in certain recognizable characteristics for each area. Osaka prints feature more subtle, serious figures, reflecting the wagoto or soft style of acting prevalent in the area, along with distinctive facial expressions. The aragato or brash manner of acting popular in Edo influenced print designs towards bolder images of heroism and military prowess.
Much like the style of the prints, the demand for ukiyo-e in the cities of Osaka and Edo also varied. Osaka produced far fewer ukiyo-e designs than Edo did. As a consequence, Osaka prints are rarer and also some of the highest quality prints made in the 19th century, with many featuring deluxe techniques such as burnishing or embossing. Osaka prints are a rare and wonderful collecting area of Japanese woodblocks.
Comments - Handsome example of a kabuki triptych by Sadanobu in the rare full oban format. Most kamigata-e or prints produced in the Osaka region are chuban size, so larger format works are unusual. Here, seven actors stand in for Japan's famous Seven Lucky Gods. In the center, a beauty portrays Benzaiten, while the fellow in green at lower right represents Ebisu, his folding fan patterned with the red snapper normally carried by Ebisu. From left, the actors are Nakamura Jakuemon, Nakamura Fukusuke, Nakamura Komanosuke, Ichikawa [?], Jitsukawa Enjaku, Arashi Kitsusaburo, and Jitsukawa Yaozo. A great design with expressive figures and rich jewel-tone colors set off against a deep red sky. Beautifully detailed with burnishing on the black robe at left and the black kimono collars, a burnished geometric pattern on the black kimono at top center, and touches of metallic pigment that have oxidized to a dark tone.
Artist - Sadanobu (1809 - 1879)
Image Size - 14" x 28" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. A couple small holes, a couple small losses in margin, repaired. Slight soiling, a few creases. Please see photos for details. Good overall.