miércoles, 16 de noviembre de 2016

Kabuki Actors Chikanobu - Tryptich Cantú Y de Teresa Collection



Discussing a Message, 1879
by Chikanobu (1838 - 1912)

Chikanobu .

Discussing a Message, 1879 - Interesting kabuki scene of a group gathered around a young man, discussing the message he holds in his hands. He frowns at the beauty behind him, while the elderly man below seems agitated, waving his hands. The other three figures lean forward eagerly, the young woman smiling while the other two seem angry. The men all wear their hair cropped short in the modern Meiji fashion, and three large crests appear on the purple drapery in the background. From left, the actors are Ichikawa Sadanji I, Iwai Hanshiro VIII, Onoe Kikugoro V, Ichikawa Danjuro IX, Nakamura Nakazo III as the elderly man, and Ichikawa Kodanji V as the beauty. Nice expressive figures, detailed with fine line work in the hair and pink shading around the eyes.
Artist - Chikanobu (1838 - 1912)
Image Size - 14" x 28"

Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Three attached panels, backed with paper. Small loss, a few small wormholes, repaired. Light toning, creasing, and soiling, slight rubbing. Please see photos for details. Good overall.







"Yōshū Chikanobu, who represented in nishiki-e the Great Interior of the Chiyoda Castle and was famous as a master of bijin-ga, had retired to Shimo-Ōsaki at the foot of Goten-yama five years ago and led an elegant life away from the world, but suffered from stomach cancer starting this past June, and finally died on the night of September 28th at the age of seventy-five.
His real name being Hashimoto Naoyoshi, he was a retainer of the Sakakibara clan of Takada domain in Echigo province. After the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate, he joined the Shōgitai and fought in the Battle of Ueno. After the defeat at Ueno, he fled to Hakodate, Hokkaidō, fought in the Battle of Hakodate at the Goryōkaku star fort under the leadership of Enomoto Takeaki and Ōtori Keisuke achieving fame for his bravery. But following the Shōgitai’s surrender, he was handed over to the authorities in the Takada domain. In the eighth year of Meiji, with the intention of making a living in the way that he was fond of, went to the capital and lived in Yushima-Tenjin town. He became an artist for the Kaishin Shimbun, and on the side, produced many nishiki-e pieces. Regarding his artistic background: when he was younger he studied the Kanō school of painting, but later switched to ukiyo-e and studied with a disciple of Keisai Eisen; and next joining the school of Utagawa Kuniyoshi , called himself Yoshitsuru. After Kuniyoshi’s death, he studied with Kunisada. Later he studied nigao-e with Toyohara Kunichika, and called himself Isshunsai Chikanobu. He also referred to himself as Yōshū.
Among his disciples were Nobukazu (
延一 Yōsai Nobukazu?) and Gyokuei (楊堂玉英 Yōdō Gyokuei?) as a painter of images on fans (uchiwa-e), and several others. Gyokuei produced Kajita Hanko. Since only Nobukazu now is in good health, there is no one to succeed to Chikanobu’s bijin-ga, and thus Edo-e, after the death of Kunichika, has perished with Chikanobu. It is most regrettable." — trans. by Kyoko Iriye Selden (October 2, 1936, Tokyo-January 20, 2013, Ithaca), Senior Lecturer, Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University, ret'd.




Kabuki Actors
Kabuki scene

Chikanobu -  Tryptich  Cantú Y de Teresa Collection





Chikanobu Toyohara is an important Meiji artist. His prints are quite popular among collectors. Until 2006 there was no Chikanobu biography to be found and the little information available about his life was limited. In 2006 Bruce A. Coats, Professor of Art History and the Humanities at Scripps College, and others wrote a book titled "Chikanobu - Modernity and Nostalgia in Japanese Prints" about this important printmaker.

A Student of Toyohara Kunichika

Chikanobu was a student of Toyohara Kunichika (He has the same name but is different from the Kunichika Toyohara (1835-1900) that you know.) His original name was Hashimoto. He took both the last name and the second part chika of his master's first name - following an old tradition of the way an artist's name was inherited from master to student.
He signed his prints usually with Yoshu Chikanobu or Yoshu Chikanobu hitsu.

Chikanobu Prints

Favorite subjects of Chikanobu were historical and mythological legends and histories from Japan's past and genre scenes with women and children. The percentage of triptychs among the prints created by the artist is maybe higher than for any other artist of the Meiji period.
His best known series are triptychs showing court life in and around the Chiyoda Palace. Like Chikanobu's contemporary, Yoshitoshi, his print themes concentrate on the history and traditional values of old Japan. These series must be seen against the background of an era when Japan was striving to adopt Western 



technology and civilization without any criticism. The Japanese society then regarded their own traditional and culture as something of low value that had to be replaced by Western values as fast as possible.

Chikanobu Print Series

Here is an incomplete list of some of Chikanobu print series.
  • Shin Bijin - True Beauty
  • Bijin Awase - Beautiful Women
  • Jidai Kagami - Mirror of the Ages
  • Meisho Bijin Awase - Comparison of Famous Places and Beauties
  • Nijushiko Mitate Awase - Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety Parodied
  • Gento Shashin Kurabe - Magic Lantern
  • Chiyoda no O-oku - Noble Ladies from the Chiyoda Palace series
  • Onko Azuma no hana - Revitalisation of the customs of Edo
  • Chiyoda no on-omote mokuroku - Chronicle of the events at the outside the Chiyoda palace
  • Azuma Nishiki Chuya Kurabe - Edo Embroidery Pictures, comparison of the day and the night
  • Onko Azuma no Hana - The Cabinet at Edo
  • Onna Reishiki no Zu - The Manners and the Ceremonies for Women
  • Edo Fuzoku - The Customs and Manners of Edo
  • Tokugawa Jidai Kifujin no Zu - The Pictures of the Noble Ladies in Tokugawa Era
  • Setsu, Getsu, Ka - Snow, Moon and Flowers

Woodblock printing in Japan (木版画, moku-hanga) is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). Although similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the moku-hanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.


Woodblock printing, though more time-consuming and expensive than later methods, was far less so than the traditional method of writing out each copy of a book by hand; thus, Japan began to see something of literary mass production. While the Saga books were printed on expensive paper, and used various embellishments, being printed specifically for a small circle of literary connoisseurs, other printers in Kyoto quickly adapted the technique to producing cheaper books in large numbers, for more general consumption. The content of these books varied widely, including travel guides, advice manuals, kibyōshi (satirical novels), sharebon (books on urban culture), art books, and play scripts for the jōruri (puppet) theatre. Often, within a certain genre, such as the jōruri theatre scripts, a particular style of writing became standard for that genre. For example, one person's personal calligraphic style was adopted as the standard style for printing plays.
Many publishing houses arose and grew, publishing both books and single-sheet prints. One of the most famous and successful was Tsuta-ya. A publisher's ownership of the physical woodblocks used to print a given text or image constituted the closest equivalent to a concept of "copyright" that existed at this time. Publishers or individuals could buy woodblocks from one another, and thus take over the production of certain texts, but beyond the ownership of a given set of blocks (and thus a very particular representation of a given subject), there was no legal conception of the ownership of ideas. Plays were adopted by competing theaters, and either reproduced wholesale, or individual plot elements or characters might be adapted; this activity was considered legitimate and routine at the time.








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