Warrior and Giant Serpent

by Meiji era artist (unsigned)

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Warrior and Giant Serpent by Meiji era artist (unsigned)

Original Meiji era Japanese Woodblock Print
Warrior and Giant Serpent

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 - Terrific Osaka kabuki triptych of a warrior facing a giant serpent, which rears its head and bares its fangs. The rogue clasps his hands together as he concentrates, a tight-lipped frown on his faces. The sleeves of his gray outer robe are pushed down to reveal a red brocade kimono over a suit of armor, his shorter hair sticking up wildly atop his head with the longer locks pulled into a low ponytail over his back. The samurai at left watches him keenly as he holds a large hand cannon. At right, a traveling beauty lifts her hat with an alarmed expression, a water dipper in her other hand. Most unusually, she also wears armor beneath her robes. An intriguing image in the full oban format rarely seen in Osaka kabuki prints.

Artist - Meiji era artist (unsigned)

Image Size - 13 3/4" x 27 3/4"

Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Three attached panels, backed with paper. Slight toning, a few creases, small rubbed spot. Please note, due to the size, this print may be shipped rolled. Please see photos for details.

Warrior and Giant Serpent by Meiji era artist (unsigned)
Warrior and Giant Serpent by Meiji era artist (unsigned)