Osaka Prints - Produced in the Kansai region, including Osaka and Kyoto, Osaka prints or kamigata-e are instantly distinguishable from typical Edo ukiyo-e. A major difference is the choice of subject matter. Osaka prints were nearly always portraits of actors or kabuki scenes. In contrast, Edo print subjects included beauties, landscapes, nature scenes, warriors, and historic events, in addition to kabuki.
Distinctly different artistic styles also emerged in Edo and Osaka in the 18th and 19th century, resulting in certain recognizable characteristics for each area. Osaka prints feature more subtle, serious figures, reflecting the wagoto or soft style of acting prevalent in the area, along with distinctive facial expressions. The aragato or brash manner of acting popular in Edo influenced print designs towards bolder images of heroism and military prowess.
Much like the style of the prints, the demand for ukiyo-e in the cities of Osaka and Edo also varied. Osaka produced far fewer ukiyo-e designs than Edo did. As a consequence, Osaka prints are rarer and also some of the highest quality prints made in the 19th century, with many featuring deluxe techniques such as burnishing or embossing. Osaka prints are a rare and wonderful collecting area of Japanese woodblocks.
Oban Osaka Kabuki Prints - Most Osaka kabuki prints were done in the smaller chuban size, so full oban format kamigata-e are rarely seen.
These larger Osaka kabuki woodblocks are a great choice for a collector.
Comments - Dramatic image of a confrontation at sea as a ship begins to sink. The samurai in the center raises his sword above his head as he faces the boatman at left, who throws out one hand in alarm. At right, another boatman clings to the edge of the boat with one hand, gripping a thick black rope in the other. A lively scene with large expressive figures, vibrant color, and burnishing on the black court cap and ropes and metallic pigment that has oxidized to a dark tone on the armor and the dots on the red shirt at right.
Artist - Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940)
Image Size - 13 5/8" x 28 3/8"
Condition - This print with nice color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. A few wormholes, repaired. Slight offsetting from metallic pigment. Please see photos for details.