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.
Nakamura Jakuemon as Inuyama Dosetsu - Great Osaka kabuki portrait of Nakamura Jakuemon as Inuyama Dosetsu, one of the famous Eight Dog Heroes, sitting in the rain, gripping his sword in one hand and his scabbard in the other. He stares ahead as if lost in thought, his lips tightly pressed together in a frown. A mop of shorter hair sticks up atop his head, with the longer locks combed back over his shoulder. He wears a white fur vest over a red hexagonal and floral print kimono over a suit of armor with buttons down the front of the shirt. His green plaid and red outer robes have been pushed down to the waist. Raindrops slant across the dark night sky, a few leaves fluttering down in the wind. The title cartouche and text panel take the form of a scroll unrolling, the white background detailed with allover embossing and two rows of softly shaded crests. Beautifully colored and detailed with embossing on the hair, accents of metallic pigment that have oxidized to a darker tone, and lacquer on the black collars and cuff, and the scabbard. A striking composition with a beautifully expressive figure.
Artist - Yoshitaki (1841 - 1899)
Image Size - 14 1/4" x 9 3/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. A couple wormholes in margin, repaired. A couple creases at edges. Please see photos for details.