Kunichika Toyohara, Kabuki Actors at a Waterfall, Tattoo Design

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Kunichika Toyohara (1835 - 1900)
Title: Unity of Three Kinds of Happiness - Favourite Actors before a White Waterfall; Actors Kawarazaki Gonjuro I as Takaramusubi no Gon (R), Ichimura Uzaemon XIII as Tachibana Hishizo (C), and Nakamura Shikan IV as Sanba Jafuku (L)
Publisher: Hayashiya Shogoro
Date: 1863
Size: (R) 25.5 x 37.2 (C)25.2 x 36.5 (L)25.3 x 26.9 cm
Condition: Restored on the left bottom corner of centre panel, light wear around the edges, paper loss on the left top corner of centre panel, minor stains on the back due to old glue

Kunichika's version of an imaginary pilgrimage to Mount Oyama and its waterfall focuses on just three actors, who are given imaginary roles. Cooling off in the waterfall after climbing the sacred mountain is not only a pleasantly cool-looking theme for theatre fans to enjoy during the hot summer but also a perfect excuse to strip down and display fine tattoos.
Gonjuro I has a Chinese lion with peonies tattooed on his arm, symbols of perseverance and courage.

In the middle, Uzaemon XIII displays the story of the brave diving woman called Tamatori-hime who swam to the underwater Dragon Palace to retrieve a jewel stolen by the Dragon King.

At the left, Shikan IV displays the scenic pine trees on the beach at Miho with the feathered robe from the Noh play The Feather Robe (Hagoromo). The play tells of a heavenly maiden who descends to earth and leaves the magical robe that enables her to fly hanging in a tree. A young fisherman finds it and offers to return it to her is she shows him her heavenly dance. She agrees, performs the dance, then ascends back to heaven.

More Information
Print Format Triptych
Artist Name Kunichika Toyohara
Title Favourite Actors before a White Waterfall
Subject Samurai & Male, Kabuki Theatre, Tattoo
Dimensions (R) 25.5 x 37.2 (C)25.2 x 36.5 (L)25.3 x 26.9 cm
Publisher Hayashiya Shogoro