Utagawa Kunisada 1786-1865
Bandô Hikosaburô as Kudô Saemon
Colour print from woodblocks, with blind embossing (karazuri), textile printing (nunomezuri)
and gloss black (tsuyazumi).
Block-cutter: hori Take (Yokokawa Takejirô).
Publisher: Uoei (Uoya Eikichi). 12/1861.
From the series Tôsei jihitsu kagami (Mirror of Contemporary Autographs), published 12/1861, with portraits by Kunisada juxtaposed against landscapes or still-lifes designed sometimes by Hiroshige or (in this case) his pupil Ichiyûsai Shigenobu, known as Hiroshige II (1826-69).
This print was evidently intended as advance publicity for the appearance of Bandô Hikosaburô in the role of Kudô Saemon in a performance of Sano kei zu Soga no gosho-zome (A Sano lineage Soga of courtly hue) at the Nakamura theatre from 01/1862. A New Year hokku poem, signed in imitation of the actor's own calligraphy, appears down the right on the tanzaku (long poem card):
A blessing to the branches which still do not sprout the east wind of spring
Given by David Scrase, 1994