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Hirosada (廣貞)

Description:
(R) Mimasu Daigorô IV as Tôma Saburôemon; (C) Jitsukawa Ensaburô I as Hayase Iori; (L) Kataoka Ichizô I as Adachi Genemon and Nakamura Tomozô as yakko [servant] Udesuke in Dengachaya mura at the Naka Theater, Osaka; Print Title: Chûko katakiuchi no den ("A revenge tale of loyalty and filial piety")
Signature:
Hirosada
Seals:
No artist seal
Publisher:
Tenki (Tenmaya Kihei)
Date:
7/1847
Format:
(H x W)
Ôban triptych nishiki-e
25.1 x 17.2cm
Impression:
Very good
Condition:
Very good color; Good condition: (R) small repaired tears at center of bottom edge and above tree branch; small repaired wormhole below right foot;
(C) light backing a bit uneven, slight glue residue along left margin from album mounting; (L) fold from album mounting along right margin; creases in upper left corner)
Price (USD/¥):
$1,430 / Contact us to pay in yen (¥)

Order/Inquiry (Ref #HSD09)

Comments:
Background

Ehon tengachayamura (Picture book of the gathering at Tengajaya: 絵本殿下茶屋聚) is a dramatization of the actual events. Adapted from Katakiuchi Tengajayamur (Revenge at Tengajayamura: 敵討殿下茶屋聚) at the Kado no Shibai, Osaka in 1781, a popular revenge play (adauchi mono: 仇打ち物) and  jidaimono ("period piece" or history play: 時代物) in Osaka, the plots of both plays were based on events from 1609 when the samurai Hayashi Genzaburô (renamed Hayase Genjirô for censorship reasons) took revenge upon Tôma Saburôemon, the murderer of his father (renamed Hayase Genba) and elder brother (Hayase Iori) at Tengajaya (Dengachaya) village near Osaka. The play is sometimes read as Ehon Dengachaya mura.

Hayase Genba, a retainer for the Ukita clan and father of Genjirô and his brother Iori, has been killed by Tôma, a skilled swordsman. The brothers begin to track down Tôma, but they encounter obstacles complicated by their search for an heirloom painting (in other adaptations, it is a poem card). They are betrayed by their servant Adachi Genemon (also read as Motoemon), who steals money (raised by Iori's wife, Somenoi, who sells herself to a brothel to buy the painting) and a sword from Genjirô, which he uses to kill another Hayase servant and injure Iori. Later, Genemon joins up with Tôma and his servant Udesuke. Then, in the woods near the Fukushima Tenjin Shrine, they attack Iori, who despite his wounds, summons the strength to slash Tôma on the arm. In the end, however, he is slain by Genemon and Udesuke. Upon finding his brother's body, the grief-stricken Genjirô must be stopped from drowning himself. Help finally arrives in the person of Ningyôya Kôuemon, once in the service of Hayase Genba. He secures the painting and buys out Somenoi's brothel contract, whereupon he, Somenoi, Genjirô, and Hazue (Genjirô' wife) all journey to the Dengachaya. They first obtain permission from the local authorities to execute their vendetta, and then murder Tôma and Genemon.

Design

Hirosada's composition depicts the fight scene at the Fukushima Tenjin Shrine, which ends in the killing of Hayase Iori. This design appears to be unrecorded in the standard literature. It represents an early example of an ôban-size composition issued soon after Osaka publishers resumed production with the relaxation of the Tenpô Reforms (Tenpô kaikaku), edicts that in 7/1842 banned actor prints in Osaka, virtually halting print production for five years. In keeping with the cautious resumption of printmaking, the triptych bears an exemplary title — Chûko katakiuchi no den ("A revenge tale of loyalty and filial piety"), as does the central cartouche on the middle sheet (Katakiuchi no den: "A tale of revenge"), along with a lengthy inscription about the vendetta. The names of the actors were also omitted as a precaution.

Ôban-size prints constituted a very small percentage of Hirosada's designs — and this example is made more notable by the even greater rarity of his ôban triptychs.

References: IKB-I, no. 2-492; KNP-6, p. 502; NKE, p. p. 291