Original Sadahiro II (1838 - 1918) Japanese Woodblock Print
Scene from Kuruwa Bunsho
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 - Terrific Osaka kabuki scene from the play "Kuruwa Bunsho," showing the disinherited Fujiya Izaemon making a surprise visit to the teahouse where his sweetheart, the courtesan Yugiri, works. He sits atop a kotatsu or warmer covered with a quilt in the center of the room, tapping out a rhythm on a hand drum on his lap. Yugiri kneels at left, one hand resting atop a pipe as she looks back at her sweetheart. She wears an elegant kimono with a large stylized mandarin orange pattern, tied with a black obi featuring a lion and peonies. At right, a man holding an offering tray with a lobster and pine sprig watches the couple with a worried grimace, his hand poised above his head. The standing screen behind him features a magnificent peacock on a pine tree, and the sliding panels of the room are decorated with cranes in flight and golden clouds. A great design with expressive figures, detailed with burnishing on the black obi and lacquer frame of the screen, and metallic pigment that has oxidized to a dark tone on the beauty's kimono and obi, the screen, and the panels lining the room.
Artist - Sadahiro II (1838 - 1918)
Image Size - 9 7/8" x 21 1/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Three separate panels, backed with paper. Slight toning and soiling, slight creasing at edges. Please see photos for details.