Original Kunichika (1835 - 1900) Japanese Woodblock Print
Ko Brigade, Fifth Group: Bando Mitsugoro VI as Koshimoto Okaru
Series; Matches for the Kana Syllables (Mitate Iroha Awase), 1866
Matches for the Kana Syllables - Handsome design from Kunichika's 1866 series "Matches for the Kana Syllables," which pairs a large kabuki portrait with the matoi or standard of one of Edo's many fire brigades. The city's firefighters were organized into groups designated by a single kana syllable, and the name of the kabuki character depicted starts with the same syllable as the chosen brigade. Syllables suggesting words with bad or unlucky meanings were replaced with numbers. These lively images include expressive figures and vibrant color. Many include deluxe printing techniques such as burnishing, embossing, or soft bokashi shading. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has many of these designs in its collection. An interesting early Kunichika kabuki series.
Artist - Kunichika (1835 - 1900)
Image Size - 13 3/8" x 8 7/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. A few small losses and tears at edges, a few holes, thinning, repaired. Creasing, slight soiling, slight rubbing at edges. Please see photos for details.