Selection from the Collection of Chiba City Museum of Art XXI
The exhibition selected from the permanent collection is on view from Nov. 8~Dec. 6, 2022.
CHIKAMATSU Monzaemon 近松門左衛門（1653～1725）was a Japanese playwright of joruri（浄瑠璃), the form of a puppet theater which developed into bunraku(文楽) and then kabuki. He wrote a large number of stories which were highly notable portrayals of the common people, 70 of which were jidaimono, historical romance and 24 were sewamono, domestic tragedies. Several complete works of Monzaemon were published in the 1920s (late Taisho era and in the early Showa era). And one of them was 'The series Complete Works of Chikamatsu' compiled by KITANI Hogin 木谷蓬吟 in 1923, which was consisted of 16 volumes with 18 woodblock prints depicted by such great artists as UEMURA Shoen (上村松園), KABURAGI Kiyokata,（鏑木清方), OGAWA Usen (小川芋銭), and so on.
The title of the woodblock print is 'Yamanba, mountain witch' by OGAWA Usen 小川芋銭 (1868～1938). Usen depicted Yamanba standing on the clouds to show the gods' power.
The title of woodblock print above is "Umegawa in 'Meido no Hikyaku' from the series Complete Works of CHIKAMATSU Monzaemon" depicted by KITANO Tsunetomi 北野恒富(1880～1947). Meido no hikyaku 冥途の飛脚、or The Courier for Hell is a love-suicide story of Chubei and a prostitute Umegawa. Chubei spent samurai's money to buy out her. Tsunetomi depicted Umegawa heading for Chubei's birth place with him, preparing to die.
⁂The World of the Romance of Three kingdoms and Ukiyo-e Prints of Warriors
The folding screen above was painted by KATSUSHIKA Hokusai II whose date of birth and death are unknown. He was one of the disciples of KATSUSHIKA Hokusai and depicted heroes from the Romance of the Three (三国志) which was the story of the rise and fall of three kingdoms in China from the 2nd to the 3rd century.
The title of the woodblock print is 'The Five Tiger Generals from the Outlaws of the Marsh (水滸伝五虎将軍)' by GAKUTEI Harunobu 岳亭春信 (?-1869 or later).
This print was ordered by a Kyoka group led by Yadoya Meshimori 宿屋飯盛(1754～1830).
The title of the woodblock print with lacquer (urushi) was 'Portraits of 9 actors in Fan Shapes by Torii school. Both portraits in fan shape and Uchiwa-e, or pictures to be pasted on fans, were very popular for kabuki fans.
It was published around in 1732 (享保17).
The title of the woodblock print above is 'The Defeated Generals of the Taira Clan at the bottom of the Sea near Danno-Ura by UTAGAWA Yoshitsuya 歌川芳艶（1822～1866).
Yoshitsuya depicted Taira no Tomomori 平知盛 (1152～1185) committed suicide, jumping into the sea with an anchor and 6-year-old Emperor Antoku 安徳天皇(1178～1185) whose grandmother, Taira noTokiko took him and plunged into the water. The Taira clan was defeated by the Minamoto clan in the Battle of Dan-no-Ura taken place in the Shimonoseki Straits in 1185. You can read Tomomori's anger against the Minamoto clan from his face.
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