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.
Sato Tadanobu Battling the Monk Yokogawa Kakuhan - Fantastic, rare oban format Osaka triptych depicting a scene from the life of samurai Minamoto no Yoshitsune. Facing an attack by warrior monks, Yoshitsune's brave retainer Sato Tadanobu disguised himself in his master's armor to allow him to escape. Perched on the verandah of a temple at right, the warrior monk Yokogawa Kakuhan grips a spear with both hands, ready to strike his enemy. In the center, Tadanobu glares back at him, his sword in hand. He wears a fine suit of armor over a purple kimono, and a helmet topped with a small lion figurine. At left, Yoshitsune's mistress, Shizuka gozen lifts her hat for a closer look, a strange smile on her face. she wears a straw raincoat over a purple kimono patterned with blossoms. Snow falls heavily through the night sky. A striking composition, beautifully colored and detailed with embossing on the samurai's armor and sword hilts, lacquer on the black areas of the monk's armor and the spear handle, and accents of metallic pigment that have oxidized to a dark tone.
Artist - Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940)
Image Size - 14 1/4" x 28 1/4" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. A few creases at edges, faint stain on face from offsetting of metallic pigment. Please see photos for details.
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