This batch arrived a little while ago but I’ve been busy and the house has been too messy to get them all photographed, until the Christmas break.
This print is a lovely conundrum because there is another print (below) which has the exact design but different actor’s names. An investigation by ukiyo-e & kabuki experts failed to find any trace of the second production so we suspect that it was never produced.
The following print just struck me as being unusual, with the strange golden rope arching above the central character and bright blue background.
The following is my first print by this lesser known artist (Kunimatsu), a pupil of Kunichika, as you can see from the style. One particularly interesting aspect is the use of a metallic ink for the sword and one of the drapes in the middle page, which has caused severe paper corrosion.
The dramatic composition of this next print drew me to it.
The following print is one of a long series called “Comparisons of Famous Products, the Pride of Tokyo” (Tokyo jiman meibutsu awase, 東京自慢名物会), printed in 1896. It features Kunichika and other artists of the time such as Kaoru Umemoto often collaborating on different panels in the same print. The prints were produced on very high quality, thick paper and feature lots of interesting effects such as embossing and multiple bokashi fades. I think it deserves to be a much more well-known and collected series than it is.
Here are the rest of the batch: