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.
Hakone: Nakamura Utaemon IV as Shimobe Fudesuke - Fantastic image from the classic kabuki play, "Hakone Reigen Izari no Adauchi," which tells the story of a miracle that occurred at the waterfall at Hakone, where the samurai Katsugoro had gone to avenge his brother's death. Here, Nakamura Utaemon IV appears as the yakko or low-ranking servant Shimobe Fudesuke, gripping an enemy's severed head bundled in a cloth under his arm. He stares over his shoulder with a grim expression, his shaggy hair spreading out around his face. He wears a tie-dyed kimono, the sleeves tied back with rope to keep them out of the way. The waterfall rushes behind him below a rocky outcropping. A great expressive figure from this famous tale.
Artist - Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Image Size - 14 1/4" x 10"
Condition - This print with good detail as shown. Stitching holes at side, a few small holes, repaired. A few marks and creases, slight rubbing, small stain. Please see photos for details.
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