Utagawa Hiroshige, 1797-1858 & Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865
Famous Restaurants of the Eastern Capital: The Uota Restaurant, Tarozaemon
(Toto Komei Kaiseki Zukushi: Uota, Tarozaemon)
the inset landscape panel signed Hirogshige, the actor portrait signed Toyokuni ga within the artist's Toshidama cartouche, publisher's seal Toriaburacho, Fujikei (Fujiokaya Keijiro of Shorindo), censor's seals Hama and Magome, and date seal Ushi-ichi (year of the ox , 1st month)
oban tate-e 14 by 9 1/2 in., 35.5 by 24 cm
The actor Ichikawa Ebizo V (1791-1859) is in the role of Tarozaemon, the tragic retainer of the Hojo clan from the play Oto no Miya Asahi no Yoroi (Oto no Miyo and the Armor of the Rising Sun). Tarozaemon's advanced age and snow-white hair could mislead one to underestimate this aging warrior, but his fierce scowl reflects his determination in the face of conflicting obligations: one to his feudal lord and the other to a courtesan who once saved his daughter. In the end, he commits infanticide, sacrificing his own grandson to maintain a balance between the two. The relation to the Uota Restaurant is unclear.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.30512
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