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Kumagai jin'ya no dan, Kumagai's Battle-camp
Book Condition: Very Good Plus, Presumed First Edition, Signed by Illustrator, Illustrated By: KunimasaSize: Folio - over 12" - 15" tall, This work is a beautiful yakusha-e (kabuki actors' print) triptych. The instant print groups five actors on a total of three sheets. Artist: Utagawa (Baido) Kunimasa IV (1848-1920). Title: Kumagai jin'ya no dan, Kumagai's battle-camp. Publ.: Not deciphered but name/address of artist and of publisher believed listed to left of toshidama seal in left-hand triptych. Date: Meiji (Believed to be 1880s. After 1889 he is not known to have signed Baido Kunimasa, as here). Almost certainly an early pull of the first edition. Size: (HxW) 14.6" x 9.8" (each of 3 pieces) of triptych. Oban tate-e. Signature: Baido Kunimasa hitsu, with toshidama seal. Condition: Near Fine impression and state. No creasing observed. Immensely clean, front and back, save for occasional very small color blotches, quite minor. Sharp, occasionally broken key block lines and with well-registered colors. Vibrant aniline dye colors, slight to moderate color transfer. As to color choices, a riot of color, with greens, reds, bright pink, light yellow, blues, purple, and black dominating. Untrimmed top and left margins. Very little soiling. Unbacked. Over all a Very Good Plus triptych. Comments: From the play Ichi-no tani futaba gunki, The Chronicle of the Battle of Ichi-no Tani, between the Heiki (Taira) and Genji (Minamoto). Specifically, the final scene of Act III, San no kiri. Depicted, from left to right: Sagami, Atsumori, Kumagai Naozane, Midaroku, and Yoshitsune. Actors portraying these characters may have been: Kataoka Gado III (Midaroku); Ichikawa Kuzo III (Kumagai); Bando Kakitsu I (Atsumori); Ichikawa Gonjuro (Yoshitsune). Actors striking vivid mie or poses. Compare the present triptych with a triptych print by Kunichika of 1879 in the Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints depicting a scene from the same play. "Originally born Takenouchi Hidehisa, the artist [Kunimasa IV] used multiple go (artist names) during his career including Baido Hosai, Baido Kunimasa, Kochoro, Kunimasa IV, Kunisada III and Toyokuni V. Early in his career he used the go Kunimasa IV and Baido Hosai. In 1889 he succeeded as head of the Utagawa line and took the go Kunisada III. Later in his career he claimed the title Toyokuni IV, but that go was already taken (a fact that he refused to recognize), so he is referred to as Toyokuni V. He studied under Toyokuni III at age 11 and then under Utagawa Kunisada I (1786-1865), Kunisada II and Tokokuni III. He specialized in Meiji actor prints and along with Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) is considered by some as the best of the yakusha-e artists."
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Last Found On: 2015-06-09           Check availability:      Bookzangle    

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