Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III): Shizuka and Kitsune Tadanobu
from the series Matches for Thirty-six Selected Poems
(Mitate sanjûrokku sen)
Japan, Edo period, 1857
Colour woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper, vertical ôban, 25.6 cm × 37.4 cm, signed Kôchôrô Toyokuni hitsu; Gengyo, with censor's seal.
The artists are Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III, 1786–1864) and Miyagi Gengyo (1817–1880). Published by Aito.
The print depicts Actors Onoe Kikugorô IV as Shizuka and Ichikawa Kodanji IV as Fox Tadanobu (Kitsune Tadanobu), from the series Matches for Thirty-six Selected Poems (Mitate sanjûrokku sen).
First artist: Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese: 歌川 国貞; also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III (三代歌川豊国); 1786 – 12 January 1865) was the most popular, prolific and financially successful designer of ukiyo-e woodblock prints in 19th-century Japan. In his own time, his reputation far exceeded that of his contemporaries, Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi.
Second artist: Miyagi Kisaburo (common name) had numerous pen-names, including ‘Baisotei’, ‘Seiken’, ‘Fuen’ and ‘Suisenshi’. The son of a scroll mounter, in his youth he was employed by an antique dealer, but he left that profession to concentrate on the design of surimono and covers for ‘kusazoshi’. After the great earthquake of 1855 he designed a large number of caricatures, including prints of catfish, which are said to have sold extremely well. Following this, he designed many satirical pictures. He was not a pure ukiyo-e artist but he had a very close connection with that school.