Shunbaisai Hokuei (春梅斎北英) (artist )
From right to left: Nakamura Utaemon III (中村歌右衛門) as Sutewakamaru (捨若丸); Onoe Tamizō II (尾上多見蔵) as Miura Hitachi (三浦常陸); Nakamura Tomijūrō II (中村富十郎) as Gion Okaji (ぎおんおかじ); Bandō Jūtarō I (坂東寿太郎) as Saito Kuranosuke (斎藤蔵之助) in the play Keisei chigogafuchi ('The Chigogafuchi Pool')
39.25 in x 15 in (Overall dimensions)
Signed: Shunkōsai Hokuei ga
(on each sheet)
Publisher: Wataya Kihei
(Marks 579 - seal 12-008)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Hankyu Culture Foundation - far right panel
Hankyu Culture Foundation - 2nd from right
Hankyu Culture Foundation - 2nd from left
Hankyu Culture Foundation - left panel
Lyon Collection - the two left hand panels
Lyon Collection - Tsunemaru print of Tamizō II as Sutewakamaru
These panels help commemorate a performance of Keisei chigogafuchi ('The Chigogafuchi Pool') at the Kado Theater in Osaka in the first month of 1833.
"The Chigo Deeps (Chigo ga fuchi) of the play title Keisei chigogafuchi (A courtesan and deep water at Chigo: けいせい稚児淵) was located off the island of Enoshima. It was there in the twelfth century that a young temple page (chigo) named Shiragikumaru committed suicide rather than choose between two priests who vied for his love. Keisei chigogafuchi (A courtesan and deep water at Chigo: けいせい稚児淵), along with Chigogafuchi koi no shiranami (Chigo deep water and the white waves of love: 児渕恋白浪), combined the legends of the outlaw Goemon with a revenge tale involving Shiragikumaru (renamed Sutewakamaru in the kabuki dramas). The conflated saga includes Sutewakamaru vowing to avenge the death of Takechi Mitsuhide who had been slain by Mashiba Hisayoshi (the theatrical namesake for the historical shôgun Toyotomi Hideyoshi). This links the Sutewakamaru plot with various Ishikawa Goemon mono ("plays about Ishikawa Goemon"), the legendary fugitive outlaw during the reign of Hideyoshi. Late in the play, Sutewakamaru transforms into Goemon."
This information was taken directly from Osakaprints.com.
The sprinkling of brass particles in the sky in the present grouping (except for the right hand panel which was acquired separately) is a distinct curiosity, possibly representing proof copies for testing the application of these metallics. No other impressions with this effect are known for this design.
References: Kabuki nenpyō (Chronology of Kabuki), Ihara, T. (ed.). Vol. 6. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1961, p. 264;
Kamigata shibai-e ten zoroku (Illustrated Record of an Exhibition of Kamigata Theater Prints), Matsudaira, Susumu. [Ikeda Bunko Library collection]. Tokyo: Kokuritsu Gekijō, 1985, pp. 84-85, no. 107
Nakamura Utaemon III (三代目中村歌右衛門: from 1790 to 2/1818 and again 10/1819 to 1826 and once again 1826 to 1/1836) (actor)
Onoe Tamizō II (二代目尾上多見蔵: 11/1820-1848; 1850-November, 1885) (actor)
Wataya Kihei (綿屋喜兵衛) (publisher)
Nakamura Tomijūrō II (二代目中村富十郎: 1/1833 to 2/1855) (actor)
Bandō Jūtarō I (初代坂東寿太郎: from 11/1825 to 12/1840) (actor)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (genre)