Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Otani Tokuji as Sodesuke
Sharaku - Not much is known about the woodblock print artist Toshusai Sharaku, who specialized in kabuki portraits. His career spanned only ten months from 1794 to 1795, with around 150 prints known. Unlike his contemporaries, Sharaku did not idealize his subjects, instead creating realistic portrayals that were not always flattering, and his prints were not a popular success at the time. His best works convey a rare perceptivity, with a psychological insight and a deep understanding of the dramatic nature of the roles and the actors he depicted. Sharaku left behind a body of masterworks of ukiyo-e kabuki portraiture that remained unrecognized until a century after his death.
Fine printing from the respected Tokyo publisher Oedo Mokuhansha - These classic designs were produced by the well known Tokyo publisher Oedo Mokuhansha amidst a resurgence of interest in ukiyo-e. Like many of these traditional businesses, the woodblock print craft was passed down through generations, and the Oedo Mokuhansha company was formed by descendents of an Edo era publisher. These are nice prints of the highest quality standards and an excellent choice if you are looking for fine old woodblock reprints.
Comments - Fabulous Sharaku print of the actor Otani Tokuji as Sodesuke, a yakko or low-ranking manservant. He looks up with his lips pursed, one hand clenched as he attempts to restrain his emotion. His other hand grips the sheath of his sword. He wears a simple dark kimono over a soft green under robe with a black collar, the red sheath of the sword adding the brightest note of color to the design. A moving, expressive portrait imbued with emotion. A great image from the play "Hana Ayame Bunroku Soga" with a lovely distressed metallic silver background.
Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Image Size - 15" x 10 1/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Please see photos for details. Generally in nice condition overall.