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.
Fuchu: Ichikawa Hirogoro I as Kitahachi - Amusing portrait of Ichikawa Hirogoro I as Kitahachi from a kabuki play based on Jippensha Ikku's famous novel "Tokaidochu Hizakurige" or "Shank's Mare Tokaido." The tale chronicles the comic adventures of his two heroes, Yajirobei and Kitahachi, as they make their way from Tokyo to Kyoto along the famed Tokaido road in the early 19th century. The two country yokels Yaji and Kita experience a range of humorous mishaps as they travel from one station to the next. The phrase "shank's mare" refers to traveling on foot rather than on horseback. Here, Kita leans forward with an astonished expression, holding his hat over his shoulder by the cord. The scene above shows travelers fording a river at Fuchu. A comic portrait of this famous character.
Artist - Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Image Size - 13 1/2" x 9 5/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with good detail as shown. A couple small repairs, a few creases and spots. Please see photos for details.