Hiroshige and Kunisada, Restaurant Ofuji

Utagawa Hiroshige, 1797-1858 & Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865

Famous Restaurants of the Eastern Capital: The Restaurant Ofuji at the Furukawa in Hiroo and The Actor Bando Mitsugoro III as the Fox Tadanobu
(Toto Komei Kaiseki Zukushi: Ofuji no Furukawa Hiroo; Kitsune Tadanobu)

the actor portrait signed Toyokuni ga, the right circular inset with landscape of a river signed Hiroshige with red seal Furukawa Hiroo, the left circular inset with a view of the restaurant identified as Ofuji, with red seal kitsune-unagi (lit. fox-eel); publisher's seal Toriaburacho, Fujikei (Fujiokaya Keijiro (Shorindo), censor's seals Kinugasa and Murata and date seal Ne-no-juni (year of the rate [1852], 12th month)

oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 9 7/8 in., 37.3 by 25.2 cm

This series depicts half-length portraits by Kunisada of actors in various kabuki roles paired with landscape cartouches by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) featuring famous restaurants of Edo. The right-hand cartouche illustrates the Furukawa River in the area of Hiroo, the location of a well-known eel restaurant, Kitsune (The Fox). The left-hand cartouche illustrates the exterior of The Ofuji restaurant, followed by the red seal kitsune-unagi (fox-eel), which must have been a specialty of the house. Both allude to the role of Kitsune Tadanobu portrayed by Bando Mitsugoro III (1775-1831). Kitsune Tadanobu was a fox spirit who impersonates the real Tadanobu, a retainer of Yoshitsune from the play Yoshitsune senbon zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees).

Arendie & Henk Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage, 2004, pp. 165-177 (regarding the play)



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