////Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III). On the banks of the Kamo River, from the series ‘A Parody of Sugawara’ / Fan print, 1851.

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III). On the banks of the Kamo River, from the series ‘A Parody of Sugawara’ / Fan print, 1851.

Title: On the Banks of the Kamo River [加茂堤] (Kamo Tsutsumi),  sometimes transcribed as Kamo Zutsumi.

Series: A Parody of Sugawara [美立菅原] (Mitate Sugawara). The word mitate is usually written as 立 but here it is 立, like on another Kunisada’s fan print A beauty reading a book on a balcony overlooking a bay: A Parody of Sugawara Stripes (see SVJP-0334.2021 in this collection).

On the Banks of the Kamo River is a scene from the play Sugawara’s Secrets of Calligraphy [菅原伝授手習鑑] (Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami); it was originally written for the puppet theatre (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1746 in Ôsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted for Kabuki the following month and staged for the first time in Kyôto at the Kitagawa no Shibai, produced by Nakamura Kiyosaburô I. It was also performed for the first time in Edo, at the Ichimuraza, in the 3rd lunar month of 1747. The shape of the cartouche resembles an ox cart viewed from the back which alludes to the scene Fighting for the Carriage (Kuruma biki).

Artist: Utagawa Kunisada [歌川 国貞] a.k.a. Utagawa Toyokuni III [三代 歌川 豊国] (Japanese, 1786 – 1865).

Signed: Toyokuni [豊国] in a red toshidama cartouche. The character ga [画] is missing (cut out).

Publisher’s seal: Ibaya Senzaburō [伊場屋仙三郎] (Japanese, fl. 1815 – 1869).

The date seal and censor seals were possibly trimmed out. According to [LIB-3008.2022] Andreas Marks (Tuttle, 2010; p. 267), the series was produced by Ibaya in 1851.

Ref.: (1) Samuel L. Leiter. Historical dictionary of Japanese traditional theatre (Historical dictionaries of literature and the arts) / 2nd edition. – Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014©.  (2) Andreas Marks. Japanese woodblock prints: Artists, publishers and masterworks, 1680 – 1900 / Foreword by Stephen Addiss. — Tuttle Publishing, 2010©.

Acknowledgements: This masterpiece of ukiyo-e would not be properly described without input from Elena Varshavsky and Horst Graebner.

SKU: SVJP-0354.2022 Categories: ,

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