Artist: Shunkōsai Hokushū (春好斎北洲)

Artist: Shunchō (春朝)

Print: Kano Minshi I (叶みんし) as Okiyo (娘おきよ) and Arashi Kichisaburō II (二代目嵐吉三郎) as Kowari Dennai (小割伝内) in the play Katakiuchi ura no asagiri (Revenge along the Bay in Morning Fog: 敵討浦朝霧)

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Dates: 1815,created
Dimensions: 19.75 in,14.125 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed on the right panel: Shunkō ga (春好画)
on the left panel: Shunchō ga (春蝶画)
Publisher: Shioya Chōbei
(Marks 475 seal 25-093)

Related links: Philadelphia Museum of Art - the right-hand panel; Philadelphia Museum of Art - left-hand panel; Hankyu Culture Foundation - a related print to the left panel; Hankyu Culture Foundation - another interesting comparison; Hankyu Culture Foundation - right panel; Hankyu Culture Foundation - left panel;

Physical description:

There is something oddly unique about this composition. Not only is it a collaboration between two significant artists, something which had been done before, but the layout and the dramatic use of black contrasted with the pink of the engawa and the bright yellow of the onnagata's sedge hat seem to set it apart from other prints from this time.

Another point of interest is that the printer's seal does not appear in the oblong box reserved for it on the left panel. Of course, this is not unheard of, but still it is unusual for such an unusual composition.


Illustrated in:

1) Ikeda Bunko, Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei (Collected Kamigata Actor Prints) Volume 1, Ikeda Bunko Library, Osaka 1997, no. 51.
2) Schätze der Kamigata: Japanische Farbholzschnitte aus Osaka 1780-1880, MNHA (Musée national d'histoire et d'art Luxembourg), p. 186, #390.
3) The Theatrical World of Osaka Prints (p.249) there is a copy of this diptych in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There is a small black and white illustration of the print on the left by Shunchō in that catalogue. [See the links above.]
4) Kabuki Heroes of the Osaka Stage 1780-1830, British Museum, 2005.


This diptych is an example of gassaku (合作) or where more than one artist contributed to a composition. In this case it was separate sheets, but in other cases one artist might provide the figures and the other the background or some other motif element.