Utagawa Kunisada Kajiwara Heizo Kagetoshi

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865

Mirrors as Stylish Collage Pictures: Nakamura Nakazo III as Kajiwara Heizo Kagetoshi
(Imayo oshi-e kagami: Kajiwara Heizo Kagetoshi)

signed Toyokuni ga within artist's Toshidama cartouche, with publisher's seal Shorindo (Fujiokaya Keijiro), with combined censer and date seal Saru-ni, aratame (year of the monkey, [1860], 2nd month, examined), ca. 1860

oban tate-e 14 by 9 3/4 in., 35.6 by 24.7 cm

A portrait of the actor Nakamura Tsuruzo I (Nakamura Nakazo III, 1809-1886) in the role of Kajiwara Heizo Kagetoki, a historical general from the 12th century infamous for his ambiguous loyalties who appears in several kabuki plays, often as a traitor. However he is presented favorably as a sabakiyaku (a man of intelligence and good judgement who undermines the villain) in a famous scene known as Ishikiri Kajiwara (Stone-Cutting Kajiwara), which originated as part of the third act of the five-act drama Miura no Osuke Obai Tazuna, first staged in Osaka in 1730 but has been staged as an independent drama since 1892.

References:
British Museum (britishmuseum.org), accession no. 2003,0307,0.19
Musuem of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), accession nos. 50.2328 (with carver seal) and 00.803 (similar to this impression)

SOLD

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