Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Benkei in the play Kanjincho
(Ichikawa Danjuro, Kanjincho no Benkei)
finely carved and printed with karazuri (blind printing) on the white rope and pom-pom tassles and with metallic pigment, the actor identified on the left sheet, Ichikawa Danjuro, signed Oju Yoshitoshi ga, with artist's seal Yoshitoshi no in, dated in red seal, Meiji nijusan-nen shigatsu tsuitachi, insatsu, shuppan (Meiji 23 , April 1st, printed and published), publisher's seal on the right, Gako ken Shuppan-nin Akiyama Buemon located in Nihonbashi-ku, followed by the carver's seal Hori Yu (Wada Yujiro), the right sheet includes a poem signed Keika, 1890
oban tate-e triptych 14 3/8 by 29 in., 36.6 by 73.7 cm
The actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1868-1912) is in the role of Musashibo Benkei from the play Kanjicho (The Subscription List). The print depicts the scene where Yoshitsune and Benkei are disguised as itinerant priests in order to get through the customs barrier of Ataka. Benkei recites the empty scroll (the subscription list) aloud and the warden allows them to pass.
The poem inscribed:
hana no ma mo
Keika with seal, Nin gen ban ji
Yoshitoshi's friend Katsurakaen Keika (1829-1899) was a haiku poet who composed the square cartouche texts on the prints in the One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series.
In 1890 Yoshitoshi issued a small group of kabuki-related triptychs which were published by one of his great collaborators, Akiyama Buemon. It was near the end of his career, but also at a highpoint, while artist and publisher were still in the midst of production of the moon series and Yoshitoshi was also working on New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts with a different publisher. The triptychs stand out with their lavish printings of bold compositions featuring a single half-length portrait of a figure against a minimal or stark background across three horizontally aligned sheets, which was a format that the artist Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) had embraced over the previous decade.
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, 492, no. 516
Eric van den Ing, Robert Schaap, Beauty & Violence: Japanese Prints by Yoshitoshi 1839-1892, 1992, p. 146, no. 69
Akita Museum of Modern Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: The Last Ukiyo-e Artist of Genius, 1999, p. 25, no. 65
Yuriko Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi, 2014, pp. 194-195, no. 306
Art Institute of Chicago (artic.edu), reference no. 1984.569
Harvard Art Museum (harvardartmuseums.org), object no. 1988.2
(inv. no. 10-5181)
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site last updated
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New York, New York 10019
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