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.
Fantastic supernatural design with giant spider - Great kabuki portrait of Ichikawa Sadanji as Princess Wakana conjuring up an enormous spider to help her fight her enemies. She looks over her shoulder with a grim, worried frown as she reads a magic spell from the scroll spread out between her hands. She wears a red kimono patterned with maples leaves and spider webs over a red under robe, tied with a purple brocade obi. The white collar of her under robe features a geometric design in a metallic pigment that has oxidized to a darker tone. Her long hair loops over her back, with bangs framing her face. Behind her, the glowing yellow eye of the spider stares out from its web as cherry blossom petals fall over the scene. The title cartouche takes the form of a scroll unrolling, with a text panel featuring softly shaded rows of motifs against allover embossing. A fantastic supernatural subject by this leading Osaka artist, in a rarely seen oban size format. The white kimono collar includes a geometric pattern in metallic pigment that has oxidized to a dark tone, and the eye of the spider is burnished to a soft sheen.
Artist - Yoshitaki (1841 - 1899)
Image Size - 14" x 9 1/4"
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Slight paper remnants on reverse at edges from previous mounting. A couple small repairs, slight rippling. Please see photos for details.