Compelling woodblock print dedicated to the famous rivalry between Fuwa Banzaemon (不破伴左衛門) and Nagoya Sanza (名古屋山三), visible in the upper inset, for the love of the courtesan Katsuragi (桂木). Banzaemon wields a sword named “Thunder” and wears a kimono decorated with a lightning-in-the-clouds pattern. His opponent holds a sword named “Amorous Swallows” and wears a kimono decorated with a swallows-in-the-rain pattern. The setting is Nakanocho (仲ノ町) street in the Yoshiwara (吉原) pleasure district at cherry blossom time.
This precious woodblock print, made in August 1884 by the publisher Kobayashi Tetsujiro (小林鉄次郎) and by the carver Muneoka Shinkichi (宗岡信吉), is taken from the series “Snow, Moon and Flowers” (雪月花) by the artist Toyohara Chikanobu (豊原周延) and is titled “Edo, Flowers at Yoshiwara: the Courtesan Katsuragi, Fuwa Banza and Nagoya Sanza” (江戸 吉原花 桂木太夫 不破伴左 名古屋山三).
The print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), despite the right signs of aging and the presence of small restorations on the margins, is in good condition.