THE INCENSE OFFERING (Utagawa Hiroshige)

Lot 00737
N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Period: 1847-52
Condition: signs of aging
Size: 34 x 22 cm



Precious original woodblock print made, in a period between 1847 and 1852, by the artist Utagawa Hiroshige (歌川広重). The work is dedicated to “The Incense-offering Scene” (焼香場) of the eleventh act of Chushingura (忠臣蔵), that is the famous Japanese play inspired by the heroic deeds of the forty-seven ronin (四十七士), the group of samurai who avenged the death of their lord after he was ordered to commit seppuku (切腹) ritual suicide.

It is dawn and the loyal retainers, who carry in procession a kind of urn containing the head of the evil Ko no Moronao (高師直), enter the precincts of the Sengakuji (泉岳寺) temple where they are received by the abbot, who will conduct them to the resting-place of their lord Asano Naganori (浅野長矩), in front of which they will burn incense as the monks read prayers.

The print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), most likely produced by the publisher Maruya Seijiro (丸屋清次郎), owner of Jukakudo (寿鶴堂), has obvious signs of aging and, in particular, small holes and restorations.