Kabuki Actors Sawamura Kito as the chambermaid Okaru and Nakamura Tomosa II as Sagisaka Banna. c. 1846. Chuban diptych. Each sheet 9 5/8 x 7. Act three of the Kanadehon Chûshingura. Performed: Kaei 02 (? 1849) 09. Performance location: Ôsaka, Chikugo. Left-hand sheet signed and sealed Hirosada; right-hand sheet signed. Housed in a black wood frame. $250.
Hirosada was the leading 19th century Ôsaka woodblock print artist. Ôsaka prints almost exclusively illustrated the kabuki theater and its actors. They are distinguished by the very high quality of printing techniques.
Kanadehon Chûshingura was written by Takeda Izumo II, Miyoshi Shôraku, Namiki Senryû I. The play was originally written for the puppet theater (Bunraku) and staged for the first time in the 8th lunar month of 1748 in Ôsaka at the Takemotoza. It was adapted to Kabuki the same year and staged for the first time in the 12th lunar month of 1748 in Ôsaka at the Kado no Shibai.
The vendetta on which this play is based is an actual incident which took place in 1702 involving the retainers of a Lord Asano. When it was dramatized, the names and details, and even the era were changed because of censorship by the ruling Tokugawa government, which was not portrayed in a favorable light.
Traditional Ukiyoe (small images).
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