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 - Great kabuki scene of a Minamoto nobleman facing an angry samurai, throwing his hand out at his side as he frowns at the warrior, a yellow court cap tied beneath his chin. The warrior glares back at him, gripping a bow in one hand. He wears a purple kimono decorated with a dragon and swirling clouds. At left, a woman holding a shamisen and plectrum watches the pair suspiciously out of the corners of his eyes. The man at right wears a red kimono patterned with a rooster with long feathers over a suit of armor that buttons up the front, an unusual detail, and a black under robe. Large colorful figures set off by the red sky, detailed accents of metallic pigment that have oxidized to a dark tone on the armor and a burnished pattern on the black robe.
Artist - Sadanobu II (1848 - 1940)
Image Size - 13 7/8" x 27 3/4"
Condition - This print with nice color and detail as shown. Three separate panels. Large tear at edge, a few wormholes, repaired. Please see photos for details.
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