Original Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864) Japanese Woodblock Print
Shigetada, the Courtesan Akoya, and Iwanaga, 1863
Comments - Handsome kabuki scene from an imagined performance featuring Ichikawa Ichizo III as the Minamoto commander Shigetada at left, Onoe Eizaburo 4.5 (later Kawarazaki Kunitaro II) as the courtesan Akoya, and Nakamura Shikan IV as Shigetada's retainer Iwanaga at right. Shigetada had kidnapped Akoya, the mistress of the Taira warrior Kagekiyo, hoping to force her to reveal his whereabouts after he escaped following the Battle of Dan-no-ura. After she denied knowing where he was, Shigetada challenged her to play three instruments: a shamisen, a koto, and a kokyu. She began playing and singing so purely of her love for Kagekiyo, that she convinced him she was telling the truth. Here, the beauty looks up at Shigetada's retainer Iwanaga, with a sly smile. He snarls back at her angrily, playing his sword like a shamisen, using a folding fan as a plectrum or pick. The portraits are inset in the shape of an open book, set off by a deep blue background. Nicely detailed with burnishing on Iwanaga's black kimono, and embossing on the white kimono collar. An interesting and unusual format design, also in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Artist - Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Image Size - 14" x 19"
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Two separate panels, backed with somewhat stiff paper. Slight toning, soiling, and ink offsetting, a few faint stains. Please see photos for details.