(Japan – )
27.5 x 14.5 x 1.5 cm; 27.5 x 14.5 x 1.9 cm keyblock and base
'Hishikawa (real name Furuyama) Moroshige was an important pupil of Hishikawa Moronobu, who developed 'ukiyo-e' prints from book illustrations to single-sheet prints. Like many other early 'ukiyo-e' artists, Moroshige worked mainly on illustrations of books - from popular novels to picture books of actors. His style closely resembles that of Moronobu's later works. (Asano Shûgo, in 'Genshoku Ukiyoe Dai Hyakka Jiten', vol.2, Gingasha, 1982, p.97; Yoshida Teruji, 'Ukiyo-e Jiten', vol.3, Gabundô, 1990, pp.345-46.)
The image is published in Roger S Keyes "Japanese Woodblock Prints", Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin college, Oberlin, Ohio, 1984, p.19. In the accompanying text, Keyes identifies the actor as Matsumoto Hyozo, the Kyoto-Osaka actor of female roles who came to Edo for the first time in the autumn of 1697. However, Keyes attributes the work to Torii Kiyonobu I on the ground that the Moroshige signature is a later impression, and that the image is not characteristic of the artist (p.18). The signature in the published image appears on the left side of the actor. The same signature, however, is cut on the block on the opposite side of the actor. Other notable differences between the ipublished image and the mpression off the block are: the line coming down from the outline of the obi in the published image extends into the 'autumn grass' pattern while on the block it is shorter and does not interfere with the pattern; the centre of the plum blossom on the right-hand edge in the published image has been 'scraped off' on the block.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 13 August 2002.