Night Rain at the Tower Gate, 1847-1848
Ink on Paper
14 1/8 in. x 9 1/2 in. (358.78 mm x 241.3 mm)
Title (abbreviated) and "Marer 94" on mat in pencil. Signed: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga. Artist's seal: Yoshi-kiri. Censor's seal: double censor's seal (Muramatsu and Yoshimura).
Colored ink on paper; woodblock print.
This print follows in the tradition of mitate (parody) made popular by Edo chonin (merchant) class, poking fun at the literary traditions of the noble classes. The “Eight Views” makes reference to Chinese poems and paintings about eight famous sights in the Xiao-Xiang region of south central China. The Japanese have substituted views of the Omi Region near Kyoto for the continental model.
Additionally, the actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859) is shown on a Chinese bridge that is featured in the kabuki play about the famous Chinese warrior Coxinga (J. Watonai) who captures a Tartar castle. Thus, the print alludes to classical Chinese culture but has substituted Japanese places and faces.
"This scene from the play Kokusenya Kassen shows a tense moment when Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859), playing the half Chinese, half Japanese warrior Watonai, waits on a bridge for a signal dye to be floated downstream from a fortress, letting him know whether he should attack with his army or approach peacefully. Kuniyoshi has rendered Watonai in a dynamic aggressive pose, and clothed him in rich looking exotic foreign robes that suggest his mixed parentage. The print’s title “Night Rain at Tower Gate” adds another layer of allusion to what would be otherwise a straightforward actor print by referencing and parodying the popular Chinese poems “Eight Views of Xiao Xiang” and the Japanese poems “Eight Views of Omi” which contain references to such an evening shower."
(EML, student in 2010 seminar ARHI154 Japanese Prints)
Kiyomizuya (or Shimizuya).
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