LADY TOKIWA (Utagawa Kuniyasu)

N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Year: 1828
Condition: signs of aging
Size: 26 x 37 cm



Beautiful original woodblock print of vertical large oban (大判) format, made by the artist Utagawa Kuniyasu (歌川国安) and depicting the actor Segawa Kikunojo (瀬川菊之丞) playing the role of the noblewoman Tokiwa Gozen (常盤御ぜん) while holding a sword immediately before her capture by Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛), who will force her to serve him as a concubine in exchange for assurances of the safety of her family and who will then have a daughter from her.

The work, central panel of a triptych, was produced by the publisher Yamadaya Shobei (山田屋庄兵衛), owner of Kinkyodo (錦橋堂), on the occasion of the staging of the play “Motomishihana Otogi Heike” (雪御伽平家), by the playwright Tsuruya Namboku IV (四代目鶴屋南北), which was performed in November 1828 at the Nakamura-za (中村座) theater in Edo (江戸).

The print on Japanese washi paper (和紙) shows signs of aging and, in particular, restorations on wormholes.