JAPANESE PRINTS

A MILLION QUESTIONS

TWO MILLION MYSTERIES

 

Ukiyo-e Prints

浮世絵版画

Port Townsend, Washington

 

 

 

UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI

   

歌川国芳

うたがわくによし

1797-1861

Kabuki Ghost  Oban Triptych

Title: Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage

Date: 1847-48

Censor's seals: Muramatsu and Yoshimura

村松     吉村

むらまつ     よしむら

Publisher: Ebiya Rinnosuke

海老屋林之助 署名: 一勇斎国芳画

えびや.りんのすけ 

 Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga
  署名: 一勇斎国芳画
 しょめい: いちゆうさいくによしが

Sizes:

Left Panel - 14 1/8" x 10"

Center Panel - 14 1/4" x 10"

Right Panel - 14 1/8" x 10"

Originally priced at $580.00

Now on sale for $440.00

SOLD!

 

There are copies of the left and center panel in the Ritsumeikan University collection of prints. They do not appear to own the whole triptych.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This detail from the left hand print illustrates

a red bat shown full frontal. I didn't notice it

at first, but it is definitely there. Although

this is a Japanese print there are many

connections to Chinese motifs like the bat.

In China a red bat was considered a most

propitious symbol.

 

Above are the date/censor seals, signature and the artist's kiri seal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The figure on the left represents the ghost of Hōkaibō. The text in the red label reads Hōkaibō bōkon (法界坊 ぼうこん or ほっかいぼうぼうこん).

The onnagata on the right  plays the ghost of Princess Nowake or Nowakehime. The text in the yellow label reads 野分姫ぼうこん or のわけひめぼうこん.

 

Our contributor A.K. assisted enormously in providing the information shown above. Hell, he didn't just contribute. He did the work. Thanks A.K.!

 

   
     

Detail of backside

of left panel.

Detail of backside

of right panel.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice how the actor uses a cloth to hold what I originally thought was a lantern. But thanks to an e-mail from a visitor to this site I now know that this is actually a small Buddhist altar.

 

On July 27, 2007 Lee from New York wrote: "Regarding the Kuniyoshi "Kabuki Ghost" print, you may or may not be aware that this play was being performed here in New York this week.... In the performance, what you referred to as a lantern was a small portable Buddha shrine. The character was fending of the ghost with this holy object, as one might do with a cross and vampire in Western fiction."

 

Thank you so much Lee! Without your help I may never have known this information and my mistake would never have been corrected. Thanks!

[By the way, what makes Lee think the cross and vampire thing is fiction? This question is rhetorical, of course - and very tongue-in-cheek.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detail of the figure on the far right for better viewing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detail of the onnagata from the right panel.

  

 

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