Four musicians accompanying two puppets from 'joruri' theatre, operated by two veiled puppeteers, from an album of 'ukiyo-e' woodblock prints of 'kabuki' actors
1835 - 1900
The album contains 34 striking images of kabuki actors by six late 19th century woodblock print designers: Utagawa KUNISADA I (1786-1864), Utagawa KUNISADA II (1823-1880), Toyohara KUNICHIKA (1835-1900), Utagawa KUNIAKI II (1835-1888), Utagawa YOSHICHIKA (fl. 1850-60 in Osaka) and Utagawa KUNIHISA (1832-1891).
The album includes 27 multiple-sheet sets and 7 single-sheet prints, mostly dating from the early 1860s and therefore representing the last flowering of the 'ukiyo-e' woodblock print tradition. Published as sheet prints and bound together soon after publication by a Japanese collector, the prints have survived in superb condition. Almost without exception, they are fine impressions. They all show the brilliant colours typical of the period, when imported aniline dyes were being used to dramatic effect.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, August 2005.
Place where the work was made
colour woodcut; 'oban' triptych
36.0 x 73.0 cm image; 36.0 x 24.0 x 1.5 book
Signature & date
(right sheet) signed "Kunichika ga", Gusokuya Kahei publisher's seal; (centre sheet) signed "Kunichika ga", Ota Tashichi block carver's seal; (left sheet) Gusokuya Kahei publisher's seal
James and Robin Patricia Giffen Bequest 2005
Not on display