Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: The Flute - Matsumoto Kinshō I as Sumiyoshi no reijin Fujitarō (住吉の住人富士太郎) on the left, Nakamura Utaemon IV as Asama Saemon (浅間左エ門) in the center, and Onoe Baikō IV [尾上梅幸] as Umegae (梅ヶ枝) on the right from the play Fukujukai Muryō Denki (福聚海駒量伝記)

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Dates: 1847,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: kiri in red - on left and right sheets only
Publisher: Yahataya Sakujirō (Marks 581 - seal 02-060)
Censor seals: Mera and Watanabe

Related links: Hankyu Culture Foundation - right panel; Hankyu Culture Foundation - center panel; Hankyu Culture Foundation - left panel; Lyon Collection - panel showing Hidari Jingorō;

Physical description:

The costumes of these three figures are particularly lush and interesting. For example, the robes worn by Umegae on the right-hand panel are dazzling. Even though this triptych was created in 1847 her robes border on the mid-20th images of op-art. In fact, the use of the mitsu tomoe motif is almost psychedelic. Those circles with the three comma shapes, which are so symbolic to the Japanese, look a bit like large lolipops, but as actually stand-ins for the water buckets used on a watermill. Look at them closely.

The figure on the left is wearing an outer robe decorated with wisteria flowers. Toyokuni III also illustrated this same character in 1847 also wearing a kimono decorated with wisteria. However, the one thing that makes the Kuniyoshi image more striking is the presence of golden colored koi.


A kabuki scene at night under flowering cherry trees, with a bijin playing a flute.

Ex B. W. Robinsin collection.


The Hankyu Culture Foundation is the source for the names of the actors in this triptych, because only the roles are identified. It appears to be closely linked to the story of Hidari Jingorō. (See Lyon Collection #1028.)