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.
Nakamura Fukusuke as a Young Samurai - Handsome Osaka kabuki portrait of a young samurai looking up over his shoulder as he watches a supernatural foxfire dancing in the deep blue sky beside him. His hair is pulled back into a page's style with two loops, and he wears a red kimono patterned with sparrows and bamboo over a red print under robe, tied with a purple sash. He clutches a scroll in one hand as he pushes up his sleeve with the other. A text panel above takes the form of an open scroll, with softly shaded borders running across the page. This image comes from a series depicting popular actors in roles associated with magic or witchcraft. Beautifully detailed with fine line work in the hair, burnished patterns on the blue kimono collar and purple obi, and delicate cloth embossing on the text panel. A terrific kamigata-e design in the rarely seen oban format.
Artist - Yoshitaki (1841 - 1899)
Image Size - 14 1/8" x 9 3/8"
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Slight paper remnants on reverse at edges from previous mounting. A few wormholes, small holes, repaired. A couple creases, slight rippling. Please see photos for details.
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