Swordfight in the Snow

by Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940)

Current Status

Swordfight in the Snow by Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940)

Original Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940) Japanese Woodblock Print
Swordfight in the Snow

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. 

Comments - Terrific kabuki scene of two samurai fighting in the snow, the fellow at left falling backwards with an enraged expression as he thrusts his sword out before him. The warrior in the center grips his weapon above his head with both hands, ready to strike. At right, a beauty raises her sleeve above her head as she eyes the samurai in the center. Snow falls heavily over the scene, with a couple of dogs on the snowy embankment of the river at left and rooftops in the distance on the opposite shore. A lively design and a rare full oban format Osaka print.

Artist - Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940)

Image Size - 14 1/8" x 27 7/8" + margins as shown

Condition - Good color and detail. A few creases at edges and repairs.

Swordfight in the Snow by Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940)
Swordfight in the Snow by Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940)

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