Artist: Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III) (1786 – 1864)
Title: Praying for Hits in the Waterfall of Answered Prayers. Actors Ichimura Uzaemon XIII, Sawamura Tanosuke III, Sawamura Tossho II (right), Kawarazaki Gonjuro I, Bando Hikosaburo V (centre), Nakamura Shikan IV, and Bando Mitsugoro VI (left)
Publisher: Enshuya Hikobei
Size: (R) 25.2 x 35.5 (C) 24.7 x 35.6 (L) 24.7 x 35.5 cm
Condition: Vertical folds with light creases in the middle. Light blue smudges. Minor spots on the white areas.
In the summer of 1863, Kunisada I and his talented young pupil Toyohara Kunichika both designed triptychs showing star actors of the Ichimura theatre posing at the waterfall of Mount Oyama, a sacred mountain near Edo that was a popular pilgrimage destination. One actor prays under a spray of cold water at the left, as a sign of devotion, while others hold sacred bells. Pilgrims climbed the mountain carrying wooden swords as votive offerings. The one in the centre of the print has an inscription dedicating it to the deities of the mountain. Mount Oyama was also a favourite pilgrimage place for tattooed commoners in Edo. Four of the actors in this print have lavish tattoos with decorative designs such as peonies, dragons, and chrysanthemums.