Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)
Kawarazaki Gonjuro Acting as Araiso no Koji, 1861
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Woodcut in colors
13.50 x 9.50 in
Some of the most popular printed images in the late Japanese ukiyo-e tradition were depictions of celebrities, such as this print of Kawarazaki Gonjuro acting as Araiso no Koji. Kawarazaki Gonjuro appears in dozens of woodblock prints by Toyokuni III as well as other woodblock artists of the 1850s and 1860s, each depicting the actor in a role for which they were well known. This particular print is one from a larger series, placing the actor along his contemporaries such as Ichikawa Ichizo. In the image, we see a full-length view of the actor, wearing a kimono decorated with a massive fish swimming among seaweeds. This serene view is countered by the drama of the actor, twisting his body in space and his face in suspense as lightning strikes above. 13.5 x 9.5 inches, artwork 21.75 x 17.88 inches, frame Framed to conservation standards using archival materials including 100 percent rag matting, TruGuard glass to inhibit fading, an housed in a gold finish wood moulding. Print in overall good condition; light fading to red pigments and complete fading of yellow pigments; light toning to paper; paperclip rust stain upper right; some minor tears and losses around perimeter of sheet; housed in a new custom frame.