Nobleman and Princess playing “go” game. Diptych.
Polychrome woodcut. 350x550 mm, trimmed within margins. Sign left near the margin: “Toyokuni ga” in yellow cartouche. Above the signature, two round seals of the censors “Hama – Magomi”. Next to the cartouche, the oval zodiacal seal, Rat year. Next to the cartouche, above, the oval zodiacal seal, Rat year; down, the the publisher Maruya Seijirō. Print pasted on support card. Holes, tears, unsophisticated copy.
A fine Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock print. Nobleman and Princess playing “go” game under a tree. The board game and the pieces are held by a servant. Utagawa Kunisada, also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III, was the most popular, prolific and commercially successful designer of ukiyo-ewoodblock prints in 19th-century Japan. In his own time, his reputation far exceeded that of his contemporaries, Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi. From around 1850 on allmost (but not all) prints have the signature enclosed in a Toshidama cartouche (the first use of this signature -yellow background in red Toshidama cartouche- can be dated to 1847 on a shini-e = memorial print). Just to 1860 the very most prints were only signed with "Toyokuni ga" in these cartouches, mostly red but also yellow, blue or green coloured.
About the Publisher, see Marks #299 [#08-090]. Dr. Marks gives the dates 1799-1853 for this seal.