Print: Kappazuri-e (stencil print) - 7 actors in a Karigane gonin otoko mono (Karigane's five-men plays) - from right to left: a member of the Asao clan (浅尾???); Ichikawa Omezō I (市川男女蔵); Kataoka Ichizō I (片岡市蔵?); Sawamura Gennosuke I (澤村源之助); a member of the Matsui clan (松???); a member of the Nakayama Monjūrō (中山紋十郎) ; and a member of the Arashi clan (嵐三?) in the female role

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Dates: circa 1810,created
Dimensions: 36.0 in,13.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: woodblock print

Publisher: Honkichi

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Physical description:

Six hosoban tate-e. Designs from this important first era of Osaka print-making are rare. Complete multiple sheet compositions like this have largely not survived. Almost certainly unique.

The title printed on the post on the far left, at the foot of the bridge, may read "Ajigawa bashi" or 'bridge over the river Aji' (安治川橋?).

The publisher's seal reads: 企新板.

John Fiorillo comments:

While the composition is indeed rare and you are most fortunate to have it in your collection, it is not by Ryukosai. Rather, it is an unsigned kappazuri-e (stencil print) from Kyoto.

Depicted are actors in one of the Karigane gonin otoko mono (Karigane's five-men plays). In real life, the Karigane gonin ('Karigane five') were members of a notorious loosely knit gang of at least eleven outlaws led by Karigane Bunshichi (he's depicted in sheet #4 in your hexaptych) who were executed on 8/26/1702 for a crime spree of beatings, theft, and murder spanning several years. These plays typically portrayed the criminals as so-called otokodate (chivalrous commoners, literally 'standing men'), mythologizing and transforming them from street thugs into heroes who fought against the oppression of townspeople by trouble-making samurai known as hatamoto yakko ('bannermen's footmen' serving the shogun). Very often in ukiyo-e, the Karigane gonin carry shakuhachi (long, end-blown wooden flutes ) and, indeed, all five outlaws in your hexaptych have these flutes, three seen behind their backs and two wielded as weapons. The outlaws are confronting Noda Kakuzaemon, a samurai patron of the pleasure quarters, and of young male actor-prostitutes in particular, who is murdered outside an Osaka theater by the Karigane gonin in a popular scene from a play by Takeda Izumo II titled Otokodate itsutsu karigane ('Karigane’s five brave and chivalrous men').