Niwaka Festival in the Yoshiwara, 1884

by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

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Niwaka Festival in the Yoshiwara, 1884 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

Original Kunichika (1835 - 1900) Japanese Woodblock Print
Niwaka Festival in the Yoshiwara, 1884

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.

Comments - Handsome kabuki print depicting the Niwaka Festival in the Yoshiwara. The two beauties at left are dressed in men's attire for the procession, each carrying a large red lantern with writing on it and a folding fan decorated with a blossom. The outer kimono of the woman at left features a carp leaping up a water fall, while the beauty in the center wears a robe with a dragon clutching a jewel on it. At right, a courtesan watches them with a displeased expression, her lips firmly set. Behind them, people wander about the street as they prepare for the celebration. An intriguing subject with large expressive figures, nicely detailed.

Artist - Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

Image Size - 14" x 27 3/4" + top margin as shown

Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Three attached panels, backed with paper. Slight toning and soiling, a few creases, small mark. Please see photos for details. Good overall.

Niwaka Festival in the Yoshiwara, 1884 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)
Niwaka Festival in the Yoshiwara, 1884 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)