• Umegawa and Chûbei

    Technique:
    coloured xyloghraph
    Dimensions:
    82х21 cm

Umegawa and Chûbei

Japan, late 18th - early 19th century

Tokiwazu and Tomimoto are two different, but related styles of joruri recitation that accompanied a puppet play or a performance by geishas. Utamara’s print may depict a moment from such a show put on by an unknown couple, although the text only indicates the names of the main characters in the play Meido no hikyaku (“The Courier for Hell”). That work was written in 1711 by the celebrated Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653–1725) based on real-life events that took place in Osaka: the courier Chûbei stole money entrusted to him so as to buy the courtesan Umegawa out of her contract. The elongated proportions of the figures are a characteristic feature of Utamara’s work in the second half of the 1790s and early 1800s. The composition is inscribed into a narrow vertical format. Such hashira-e (“column picture”) prints were commonly used for interior decoration by hanging them on the wooden uprights that supported the roof.

Title:

Umegawa and Chûbei

Place:

Material:

Technique:

coloured xyloghraph

Dimensions:

82х21 cm

Inventory Number:

ЯТ-2579

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Collection:

Subcollection: