In a Boat beneath a Willow, 1883

by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

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In a Boat beneath a Willow, 1883 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

Original Kunichika (1835 - 1900) Japanese Woodblock Print
In a Boat beneath a Willow, 1883

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 - Interesting kabuki scene featuring three people in a boat passing beneath a willow tree. From left, the actors are Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Yanagishima Yataro, Suketakaya Takasuke IV as Osame, and Kataoka Gado III as Tsuna. In the center, the shirabyoshi dancer Osame looks back at Tsuna with a faint smile, her chin tilted up and a small drum in her hand. He scowls back at her as he poles the craft along the undulating water, wearing a fine purple brocade coat with a pleated collar. At left, Yataro frowns unhappily as he watches a cuckoo fly across the deep red sky. Nice large figures with a colorful palette, detailed with embossing on Tsuna's blue light blue kimono and white collar.

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. A couple tiny holes, repaired. Slight soiling and offsetting, a few creases and spots, small rubbed spot. Please see photos for details. Good overall.

In a Boat beneath a Willow, 1883 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)
In a Boat beneath a Willow, 1883 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)