View 1 of Lot 21. TOSHUSAI SHARAKU (ACTIVE 1794–1795), EDO PERIOD, 18TH CENTURY | ACTOR BANDÔ HIKOSABURÔ III AS SAGISAKA SANAIA.
View 1 of Lot 21. TOSHUSAI SHARAKU (ACTIVE 1794–1795), EDO PERIOD, 18TH CENTURY | ACTOR BANDÔ HIKOSABURÔ III AS SAGISAKA SANAIA.
21

TOSHUSAI SHARAKU (ACTIVE 1794–1795), EDO PERIOD, 18TH CENTURY | ACTOR BANDÔ HIKOSABURÔ III AS SAGISAKA SANAIA

Estimate:

200,000 - 300,000 GBP

THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

TOSHUSAI SHARAKU (ACTIVE 1794–1795), EDO PERIOD, 18TH CENTURY | ACTOR BANDÔ HIKOSABURÔ III AS SAGISAKA SANAIA

TOSHUSAI SHARAKU (ACTIVE 1794–1795), EDO PERIOD, 18TH CENTURY | ACTOR BANDÔ HIKOSABURÔ III AS SAGISAKA SANAIA

Estimate:

200,000 - 300,000 GBP

THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

TOSHUSAI SHARAKU (ACTIVE 1794–1795), EDO PERIOD, 18TH CENTURY

ACTOR BANDÔ HIKOSABURÔ III AS SAGISAKA SANAIA


woodblock print: ink, colour, and mica on paper, signed Tôshûsai Sharaku ga, published by Tsutaya Jûzaburô (Kôshodô), censor's seal kiwame, 1794

Vertical ôban:

38.5 x 25.5 cm., 15¼ x 10⅛ in.

This print is a half-length depiction of Bandô Hikosaburô III during his portrayal of Sagisaka Sanai holding a lamp in his right hand in a scene from the play Koi Nyôbô Somewake Tazuna performed at the Kawarazaki-za in the fifth month, Kansei 6 (1794). The actor’s face dramatically dominates the print on the simple mica background.


Despite the contemporary appreciation of the artist Tōshūsai Sharaku, his artistic career as an ukiyo-e designer was short lived and lasted only from 1794 to 1795. While a number of drawings for prints presumably never reached the publishing stage, he designed around 140 prints depicting exclusively Kabuki actors, the theatre and sumo wrestlers. His work was highly criticized by his contemporaries in Edo up to a degree where his publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo decided not to sponsor the artist in a highly competitive, lucrative print market. The rejection of Sharaku’s work was nearly unanimous and this perhaps accounts for the fact that no records concerning his life or even his identity have been discovered until today.


Similar prints are in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 21.5827, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession no. JP2823, and the British Museum, accession no. 1909,0618,0.35.