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Utagawa Kuniyoshi Woodblock Print, ca. 1830's

Utagawa Kuniyoshi Woodblock Print, ca. 1830's

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Woodblock Prints: Pre 1900: Item # 411699

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). Subject: Yakusha-e (kabuki actor print), Iwai Tojaku (1776-1847) as Osode. Signature: ichiyuusai Kuniyoshi-ga. Publisher: Joushuu-ya Kinzou. Date: ca. 1834-1843. Censor Seal: kiwame (approved). Format: oban tate-e, H.14.375 x W.10". Condition: Very good colors and impression, wormage hole on upper left; small holes on lower left, top middle & right; small tear on mid-right edge of paper. Iwai Tojaku - Iwai Hanshiro V - Iwai Kumesaburo I was regarded as one of the best onnagata in kabuki history, having both beautiful appearance and voice. One of his nicknames was "Me Senryou" (Eyes worth 1,000 ryou.) Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1798-1861. Born as the son of a silk dyer, (then) Yoshisaburo joined the Utagawa School and became a student of Toyokuni I (1769-1825) around the age of twelve. From his master, he received the name, Kuniyoshi. His first known work appeared in 1814 and he created images in a variety of themes throughout his career; including kabuki actors, bijin-ga, landscapes, humorous prints, shunga, and one of his passions, cats. But, he was best known for his warrior prints, or “musha-e.” He gained widespread popularity with his “108 Heroes of the Suikoden” series which began around 1827. Helped by the Tenpo Reforms of 1842 which limited the imagery of courtesans and kabuki actors, Kuniyoshi produced several large series of warrior prints in the 1840's. Two students of Kuniyoshi that also achieved success were Yoshitoshi and Yoshiiku.