'The Kabuki Actors Iwai Shijaku I and Bandô Jûtarô'
Nishiki-e (brocade print)
Diptych, two ôban-size sheets
Signature: Shunkôsai Hokuei
Museum no. E.3873-1916
This work is based on a play performed at the Naka-za Theatre in Osaka in September 1832, dealing with the conflicts in the Tsunaboshi family partly caused by the scheming of the villainous retainer Karahashi Daisuke. Daisuke's accomplice, Hanbei, kills the hero Dennai's fiancée and throws her over a cliff. Witnessing this, Lady Osuma, Dennai's sister-in-law, emerges from a cave and shines her torch on Hanbei. This is the moment that is so dramatically depicted in Hokuei's print.
The print is augmented with a technique called kinginzuri or 'gold and silver printing', a technique whereby metal dusts such as powdered tin, copper and brass were used in imitation of silver and gold to enhance specific details of a design.
Hokuei, who specialised in Kabuki prints, was a follower of Hokusai. His works tend towards drama, violence and exaggeration.
This print can be found in Japanese Print Room Box JP2.