Artist: Toyohara Kunichika
Title: Triptych of The Actor Ichikawa Sadanji I as Akiyama Kii no kami Amidst Flames from the series: New Plays of Meiji
Date: 1894, published by Akiyama Buemon, signed: Toyohara Kunichika with toshidama seal
Size: 27.75" x 14.1 (overall) each panel approx. 9.25" x 14.1"
Condition: VG, margins trimmed, original Meiji era backing
Impression: Fine, solid key lines, tight registration, and good surface texture
Color: Fine, deep saturated color
About Toyohara Kunichika
Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) was a Japanese woodblock print artist. Talented as a child, at about thirteen he became a student of Tokyo's then-leading print maker, Utagawa Kunisada. His deep appreciation and knowledge of kabuki drama led to his production primarily of ukiyo-e actor-prints, which are woodblock prints of kabuki actors and scenes from popular plays of the time.
An alcoholic and philanderer, Kunichika also portrayed shop girls, waitresses, courtesans, contemporary social life, and a few landscapes and historical scenes. He worked successfully in the Edo era, and carried those traditions into the Meiji era. To his contemporaries and now to some modern art historians, this has been seen as a significant achievement during a transitional period of great social and political change in Japan's history.