SHIMOYO NO SEIGORO (Utagawa Kunisada)

N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Year: 1863
Condition: signs of time
Size: 24 x 35 cm



Rare polychrome woodblock print of large vertical format, made in June 1863 by the artist Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) and depicting the kabuki actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV (四代目市川小団次) who plays the role of Shimoyo no Seigoro (霜夜の星五郎) showing off a stunning tattoo of a koi carp (鯉) climbing a waterfall, a traditional symbol of Far Eastern mythology of courage and perseverance.

The work, produced by the publisher Kagiya Shobei (鍵屋庄兵衛) and by the engraver Ota Tashichi (太田多七) is taken from an untitled series and is signed “Shichijuhassai Toyokuni hitsu” (七十八歳豊国筆), that is by the seventy-eight year old Kunisada, also known under the pseudonym Utagawa Toyokuni III (三代目歌川豊国).

The precious print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), despite the obvious signs of aging, is in fair general conditions.