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.
Fujisawa: Bando Hikosaburo V as Oguri Hangan - Wonderful kabuki portrait of Bando Hikosaburo V as the dashing young Oguri Hangan, the dispossessed son of a nobleman who became known for his great horsemanship. According to legend, he could make his horse balance on all four hooves atop a go board. He looks over his shoulder with a suspicious expression, his hair neatly pulled into a topknot. He wears an elegant black kimono patterned with blossoms and cloud-shaped motifs, a fan in his hand. In the background, travelers cross over an arched wooden bridge near a tall torii gate, with a village beyond. A saddle, a stirrup, and other horse equipment surround the title cartouche at upper right, symbols of his expert skill. Nicely shaded.
Artist - Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Image Size - 14 1/8" x 9 1/2" + left margin as shown
Condition - This print with good detail as shown. Stitching holes at side, small thin spot, repaired. A few creases. Please see photos for details.