Utagawa Toyokuni III (Utagawa Kunisada), ‘Mirrors as Stylish Collage Pictures: Kajiwara Heizo Kagetoshi’, ca. 1860, Scholten Japanese Art

signed Toyokuni ga within artist's Toshidama cartouche, with publisher's seal Shorindo (Fujiokaya Keijiro), with combined censer and date seal Saru-ni, aratame (year of the monkey, [1860], 2nd month, examined), ca. 1860

oban tate-e 14 by 9 3/4 in., 35.6 by 24.7 cm

A portrait of the actor Nakamura Tsuruzo I (Nakamura Nakazo III, 1809-1886) in the role of Kajiwara Heizo Kagetoki, a historical general from the 12th century infamous for his ambiguous loyalties who appears in several kabuki plays, often as a traitor. However he is presented favorably as a sabakiyaku (a man of intelligence and good judgement who undermines the villain) in a famous scene known as Ishikiri Kajiwara (Stone-Cutting Kajiwara), which originated as part of the third act of the five-act drama Miura no Osuke Obai Tazuna, first staged in Osaka in 1730 but has been staged as an independent drama since 1892.

Series: Mirrors as Stylish Collage Pictures

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Publisher: Fujiokaya Keijiro

British Museum (britishmuseum.org), accession no. 2003,0307,0.19
Musuem of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), accession nos. 50.2328 (with carver seal) and 00.803 (similar to this impression)

About Utagawa Toyokuni III (Utagawa Kunisada)