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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: Ohatsu (召仕おはつ) and Iwafuji battling

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Dates: 1850,created
Dimensions: 29.25 in,14.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: shigen no ōju Toyokuni ga
"By special request of the publisher"
梓之乃應需豊国画
Publisher: Kogaya Katsugorō
(Marks 262 - seal 17-008)
Censor seals: Yoshimuran and Muramatsu

Related links: Waseda University - right panel of the Kuniyoshi version; Waseda University - center panel of the Kuniyoshi version; Waseda University - left panel of the Kuniyoshi version; Waseda University - right panel of the Kuniyoshi interior version; Waseda University - center panel of the Kuniyoshi interior version; Waseda University - left panel of the Kuniyoshi inerior version; Lyon Collection, Hiroshige triptych of The Ancient Custom of Attacking the Concubine;National Museums of Scotland - center panel - Kuniyoshi version; National Museums of Scotland - left panel - Kuniyoshi version;

Physical description:

This is truly one of the most curious items in the Lyon Collection. Why? Because it is signed by Toyokuni III while there is another triptych published by the same firm using mostly the same blocks but with a few additional elements. However, this other edition is signed by Kuniyoshi. Odd. Both men could not have created exactly the same design. There is something fishy going on here. Click on the links to the prints in the collection of Waseda University to the Kuniyoshi version.

As if all of this weren't confusing enough, there is a third version - another one signed 'Kuniyoshi' - of this triptych using exactly the same female figures but this time in an interior setting. Again, we have added links to this version too.

Actually there are a few slight differences between these sets. The coloration is not always the same, but this happens even in ordinary circumstances when new editions are produced. However, one striking difference between one of the Toyokuni III versions and that of a Kuniyoshi is that the woman on the far right who has fallen to the ground is smiling in one and not the other.

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There is another curiosity about this triptych. Although less crowded, and on a different theme, it is remarkably like the Lyon Collection Hiroshige triptych of The Ancient Custom of Attacking the Concubine. See the link above and you will see what we mean.