Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon, 1891

by Kunisada III (1848 - 1920)

Current Status

Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon, 1891 by Kunisada III (1848 - 1920)

Original Kunisada III (1848 - 1920) Japanese Woodblock Print
Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon, 1891

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Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon, 1891 - In Ueno Park, Tokyo in 1890, an Englishman named Percival Spencer ascended 3,500 feet into the air suspended from a hot air balloon, then jumped to the ground with a parachute. According to a handbill, he was on tour in the Far East, representing Chas. Green Spencer & Sons, Aeronauts and Balloon Manufacturers, London. The stunt proved wildly popular, resulting in the kabuki dance-drama "Fusen nori uwasa no takadono" (Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon), shown here. Actors are shown in the foreground with the skyline of Asakusa behind them. At upper left, Onoe Kikugoro V appears as Spencer, wearing red and white striped pants as he drifts through the sky, attached to a balloon. A fellow behind him hangs from a striped parachute. The men at left watch with interest, one shielding his eyes with his hand as he looks up. They have cropped modern Meiji haircuts and the fellow at right holds a small Western baseball-style cap, while the women are traditionally dressed. The fantastic Western-style Asakusa Ryounkaku Tower rises high above the rooftops of the temples below, with a pagoda spire visible at far right. The tower was built in 1890, and housed stores, a lounge, and observations decks, but was destroyed by the great Kanto earthquake in 1923. An intriguing image with vivid color and wonderful detail, including burnishing on the black kimono at right. The first time we've seen this kabuki subject.

Artist - Kunisada III (1848 - 1920)

Image Size - 13 1/4" x 27 1/4"

Condition - Nice color and detail. Backed with paper. Horizontal and vertical folds. A few small repairs at edges, creasing along folds.

Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon, 1891 by Kunisada III (1848 - 1920)
Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon, 1891 by Kunisada III (1848 - 1920)

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