Toyokuni III's Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido - Toyokuni III's 1852 series "The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido" pairs kabuki portraits with the stations along the famous Tokaido Road. Each design features a half-length figure in the foreground, with a border of clouds separating the actor from the landscape above. Interestingly, the title cartouche of each print is framed by different objects related to the kabuki character or play, including armor and weapons, household objects, flowers, horse equipment, and traveler's clothing and baggage. The large expressive characters are beautifully drawn and detailed, with fine line work in the hair and soft bokashi shading in the backgrounds.
The exact number of prints for the series is unclear, because two prints exist for some stations, and some intermediate stations are also included. Where there are two designs of the same subject, the background landscape continues across the two prints. This handsome series proved extremely popular when released, and remains a favorite of collectors today.
Iwai Hanshiro VII as Umegawa - Terrific portrait of the actor Bando Mitsugoro III as the warrior Kumagai Jiro Naozane, who sacrifices his own son to atone for killing an illegitimate child of the emperor during battle. He is shown with a fierce expression, staring ahead, his massive frame filling the page. He wears a voluminous black kimono, a colorful robe draped over one shoulder. The landscape above shows porters carrying travelers across the river at Fujieda, with a willow tree on the shore at right. Beautifully detailed with a subtle burnished geometric pattern on the black kimono. A great image from the tragic play "Ichi-no-tani Futaba Gunki."
Artist - Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Image Size - 13 3/4" x 9 1/2"
Condition - This print with good detail as shown. Stitching holes at side, hole, repaired. A few creases, slight rubbing at edges. Please see photos for details.