Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865
A Popular Selection of Six Flowers: A Handmade Flower
(Furyu rokkasen no uchi: Tsukuri-hana)
figures on a stage lit with candles and andon (paper lanterns); signed Kochoro Kunisada ga, with publisher's mark Kyu of Yamamoto-ya Heikichi (Eikyudo); censor's seal kiwame, ca. early 1830s
oban tate-e triptych 14 7/8 by 30 3/8 in., 37.8 by 77.3 cm
This print depicts a scene from the famous kabuki play, Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees, the earliest variation was first performed in 1747 at a puppet theater in Osaka, only one year later a kabuki version was staged in Edo at the Nakamura-za. The story is part history and part fiction, with with magical elements well-suited for a theatrical production. In this scene, Shizuka-gozen (the beloved mistress of Yoshitsune) and Sado Tadanobu (a retainer of Yoshitstune identified by the cartwheel motif on his dark outer-robe) are traveling in the mountains of Yoshino which is resplendent with its famous cherry trees in full bloom. During their journey Shizuka-gozen pauses to plays a fox skin hand-drum, named 'Hatsune.' As she plays the drum Tadanobu dances in a curious fox-like way. Little does she know that it is actually a protective fox-spirit who has taken the form of Tadanobu in order to follow the drum which was actually made from the skin of his parents. In a later scene when Yoshitsune encounters the real Tadanobu and the Fox-Tadanobu, the fox-spirit reveals himself as Shizuka-gozen plays the drum again.
Arendie & Henk Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage, 2004, pp. 167-177
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
March 2, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...