The Eighteen Best Kabuki Plays: The Subscription List, 1893

by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

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The Eighteen Best Kabuki Plays: The Subscription List, 1893 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

Original Kunichika (1835 - 1900) Japanese Woodblock Print
The Eighteen Best Kabuki Plays: The Subscription List, 1893

Comments - Terrific five-panel illustration from the drama "The Subscription List" (Kanjincho), one of "The Eighteen Best Kabuki Plays" made famous by the Ichikawa Danjuro line of actors. It tells the story of Minamoto no Yoshitsune and his faithful retainer Musashibo Benkei attempting to sneak across the border disguised as yamabushi or mountain monks to evade the wrath of his brother, Yoritomo. The aristocrat Togashi, at right in a blue kamishimo patterned with cranes, is charged with intercepting the party. They tell him they are collecting funds for temple restoration, so Togashi asks Benkei to read a list of the contributors. Thinking quickly, he reads a fake subscription list from a blank scroll. Here, Benkei angrily snatches the scroll away from Togashi's prying eyes. The young Yoshitsune kneels quietly in the center, leaning forward over his walking staff, the rest of his retainers gathered behind him. The actors include Nakamura Fukusuke as Yoshitsune, Ichikawa Danjuro as Benkei, and Ichikawa Sadanji as Togashi. A great dramatic scene with expressive faces and attractive color, beautifully detailed with embossing on Benkei's white pants and the white pompoms on the monks' stoles, and burnishing on the black caps.

Artist - Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

Image Size - 13 7/8" x 47 3/8"

Condition - Excellent color and detail. Backed with paper. Vertical folds, a few light creases and small spots.

The Eighteen Best Kabuki Plays: The Subscription List, 1893 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)
The Eighteen Best Kabuki Plays: The Subscription List, 1893 by Kunichika (1835 - 1900)

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