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Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I (初代歌川豊国)

Print: Iwai Kumesaburō II (岩井粂三郎) on the left and Segawa Kikunojō V (瀬川菊之丞) on the right, both portraying Yamadori seirei (山鳥せいれい) or female mandarin ducks in the play Sarukawa's gold-crested battle fan (Saruwaka Hisago no gunbai - 猿若瓢軍配)

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Dates: 1820,created
Dimensions: 20.0 in,14.75 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Matsumura Tatsuemon
(Marks 311 - seal 03-009)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Hankyu Culture Center - left panel; Hankyu Culture Center - right panel; Waseda University - right panel; Waseda University - left panel;

Physical description:

The source title of the play being portrayed here is a bit of a conundrum. The title does not appear anywhere on this diptych. This is a problem which needs to be solved, but one clue is that this is how it is identified at the Hankyu Culture Foundation for these specific images.

If it is the play noted above, then the Fitzwilliam curatorial information might be helpful. "The Saruwaka in the title of the play is Saruwaka Kanzaburo, who was given official permission by the Shogun to open the Saruwaka Theatre (later renamed Nakamura when the family name changed), the first Kabuki theatre in Edo. The title thereby associates this performance with the Nakamura theatre. The 'gourd-crest' in the title belonged to the great warlord Hideyoshi, an indication that the play was one of the Taikoki mono (plays about the taiko), telling the story of the sixteenth-century warlord Hideyoshi, but with changed names. The identity of such historical characters was disguised to avoid infringing the ban on their portrayal on stage or in prints."

Note that the word 'gunbai' listed in the title can also be anglicized as 'gumbai'.