Polyptychs of women of four or more sheets

 

Series: A Series of Five on Shellfish Gathering (Shiohi goban uchi, 汐干五番内)

Size: Shikishiban (about 8 by 7 inches or 21 by 18 centimeters)

Date: c. 1830

 

NOTE: These prints are listed in Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi by Robert Schaap (Hotei Publishing, Leiden, 1998) as series 2.a.4.á I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this image.

Actors from left:

Sawamura T˘z˘ III (澤村東蔵) Yamashita Kinsaku IV (山下金作)

Ichikawa Sannoj˘ I (市川 三之丞) and Nakamura Kotoji (中村琴糸)

Sawamura Kikuz˘ (沢村紀久蔵) and Onoe Eizabur˘ III (尾上栄三郎)

Iwai Haruji (岩井春治) and Iwai Hanshir˘ VI (岩井半四郎)

Play: Kanadehon Chűshingura (仮名手本忠臣蔵)

Date: 3rd month of 1833

Theater: Kawarasaki

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tobei

 

NOTE: The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University attributes this polyptych to the 1833 performance of Kanadehon Chűshingura (accessions 005-0141 and 005-0142).

The two sheets on the right are from different states of the above polyptych.á The sheet on the left has a slightly different layout and is published by Kawaguchi-ya Sh˘z˘.á It shows Onoe Eizabur˘ III (尾上栄三郎) and Segawa Kikusabur˘ III (瀬川菊三郎).á

Title: Matsuchiyama in the Eastern Capital (T˘to Matsuchiyama no zu, 東都真乳山の図)

Description: Beautiful women with mountains in the background

Date: c. 1834

Publisher: Kawaguchi-ya Ch˘z˘

 

NOTE: These prints are aizuri-e.á The prints below are from a different state of the polyptych which must have consisted of at least 5 sheets.á

Three sheets from another state without a blue sky

Title: Series of Beauties (Bijin sor˘i, 美人そろうい)

Date: c. 1834

Publisher: Kawaguchi-ya Ch˘z˘

 

NOTE: These prints are aizuri-e.á The prints below are from a different state of the polyptych which must have consisted of at least 4 sheets.á

Two sheets from another state with less text

Beauties from left:

First: Matsu Kicho of the Nomatsuya in Edo

Second: Toyoka of the Okamotoya with her kamuro Kiyono and Hanano

Third: Tamash˘ (玉菖) of the Yatama (弥玉) with her kamuro Hazsune and Iroka

Fourth: Usugumo (薄雲) of the Tama-ya

Fifth: Hanao of the ďgi-ya

Date: c. 1838

Publisher: Sano-ya Kihei

I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this full color state of a sheet from the preceding polyptych.

Title: Illustration of the Second Floor of the Kadoebiya Pleasure House in Shin-Yoshiwara (Shinyoshiwara Ky˘machi itch˘me Kadoebiya hore nikai)

Date: c. 1840

Publisher: No seal

 

NOTE: This pentaptych was published privately on behalf of Kadoebiya about 1840.á It was not intended for selling, but was a present to customers of the brothel after a fire.á The cartouche in the right lower corner, which is partially cut off in this example, reads ôforbidden to buy or to sellö.

I am grateful to Robert Pryor for these three sheets from a different state of the above pentaptych without numbers in the right lower corner of each panel.

Description: Bijin dressed as otokodate with stylized cloud bands

Date: 1847-1850 (censors Mera and Murata)

Publisher: Kame-ya Iwakichi

Title: Evening Cooling with Flowers, Current Checkered Patterns (T˘ji ichimatsu hana no yosuzumi, 當時一松花の夜涼)

Description: Women in checkered robes, standing before oversized flowers.á From left to right, the flowers are lilies, morning glories, peonies, unidentified, and hydrangeas.

Date: c. 1848

Publisher: Iba-ya Kyűbei

 

NOTE: These prints are listed as series number 112 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).á However, the continuous nature of the background suggests that these sheets were intended to be placed side-by-side to form a polyptych.á I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this image.

Another state of the above prints published by Ki-ya S˘jir˘

Titles: Left two sheets: A Female Version of Maizuru (Onna Maizuru, 女まい鶴)

Right three sheets: A Soga Brothers Confrontation Scene Enacted by Women Amateurs at New Year (Hatsu chaban onna taimen, 初茶番女対面)

Date: 1848-1849

Publisher: Fujioka-ya Keijir˘

 

NOTE: The three sheets on the right have seals of censors Muramatsu and Yoshimura, dating them to 1846-1848.á The two left hand sheets have seals of censors Kinugasa and Yoshimura, dating them to 1849.á Most likely, the three right sheets were conceived as a triptych that was later expanded to five sheets.á

Title on left: Beauties Enjoying Themselves in the Garden (美人庭遊びBijin niwa asobi)

Title on right: Boating in the Chinese Style (准漢舩遊び, Jukan Funa Asobi)

Description: Prince Genji? watching from a balcony as two ladies are being rowed in a fantastic, ornate dragon boat by young girls in Chinese costumes

Date: 1849-1852 (censors Hama and Magome)

Publisher: Sumiyoshi-ya Masagor˘ (a later state bears the seal of the publisher Wakasa-ya Yoichi)

This polyptych depicts male kabuki actors in female roles.

Actors from left:

Sawamura T˘z˘ III (澤村東蔵) Yamashita Kinsaku IV (山下金作)

Ichikawa Sannoj˘ I (市川 三之丞) and Nakamura Kotoji (中村琴糸)

Sawamura Kikuz˘ (沢村紀久蔵) and Onoe Eizabur˘ III (尾上栄三郎)

Iwai Haruji (岩井春治) and Iwai Hanshir˘ VI (岩井半四郎)

PlayKanadehon Chűshingura (仮名手本忠臣蔵)

Date: 3rd month of 1833

TheaterKawarasaki

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tobei

 

NOTE: The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University attributes this polyptych to the 1833 performance of Kanadehon Chűshingura (accessions 005-0141 and 005-0142).

The two sheets on the right are from different states of the above polyptych.  The sheet on the left has a slightly different layout and is published by Kawaguchi-ya Sh˘z˘.  It shows Onoe Eizabur˘ III (尾上栄三郎) and Segawa Kikusabur˘ III (瀬川菊三郎)

This polyptych depicts male kabuki actors in female roles.

Title: None

Actors from left:

Ichikawa Ebiz˘ V as Kaminari no Onaka (雷庄のおなか)

Iwai Shijaku I in an unidentified role

Onoe Baik˘ III as Gokuin no Osen (極印のおせん)

Iwai Tojaku I as Hotei no Oichi (布袋ノお市)

Play: A mitate (roles not actually performed on stage)

Date: c. 1833-1835

Publisher: Edo-ya Matsugor˘

 

NOTE: Well-known actors are shown in female roles.á The resemblance to the Five Otokodate suggests that these three sheets are from a polyptych of five sheets.á I am grateful to Marc DeVriese and Michel Ouellet for these images.á

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