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Apricot in the Night, Nap, Dance of the Three-legged Kettle from the series Kyōsai Manga


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Apricot in the Night, Nap, Dance of the Three-legged Kettle from the series Kyōsai Manga

by Kawanabe Kyōsai, 1864

Bell-ring Cricket, Mt. Fuji and a Parody of Kusazuri from the series Kyōsai Manga

IHL Cat. #1524

About This Print

Kyōsai gives us two comic scenes and one image of an apricot tree in this harimaze print.  Given the title Apricot in the Night in the the book Comic GeniusKawanabe Kyōsai, the image on the right is done in the ichizuri (stone-rubbing) style and looks similar to the below image done by Hiroshige as part of a harimaze print from his 1853 series Cutouts for the Fifty-three Stations.  The two comic scenes show us a drunken a folk dance and a napping scholar being teased by two courtesans hiding behind a curtain.

Detail from No. 2: Hodogaya, Totsuka, Fujisawa, Hiratsuka, Ōiso, 
from the series Cutouts for the Fifty-three Stations (Gojūsan tsugi harimaze zue)
MFA, Boston RES.49.16Ō

The Series Kyōsai Manga

Source: Comic Genius: Kawanabe Kyōsai, Oikawa Shigeru, Clark Timothy and Forrer Matthi, Tokyo Shinbun, 1996, p. 32-33, 220-225.

This series, which used "legitimate Kano school subjects as their themes" depicted in comic situations, made Kyōsai popular as an ukiyo-e artist.  Oikawa Shigeru points out that what made Kyōsai stand out from other period artists who used Kano school themes, such as Hokusai, was his "ability to parody the actual Kano school works" in  a "fresh new style" making him "the popular artist for comic prints."

At least ten prints are known to comprise this series and each single sheet includes several different subjects [harimaze-e] with each sheet including at least one comic scene.  "This series continued to be printed in the middle of the Meiji period, and several different types of editions exist.  At the time, these harimaze prints were cut into individual scenes and the small pieces were used to repair the holes in paper sliding doors and screens.  Kyōsai’s humorous scenes were thus enjoyed in the everyday lives of the Japanese people."

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Apricot in the Night, Nap, Dance of the Three-legged Kettle  
 夜の梅, 居眠り, 鼎踊り
 Series Kyōsai Manga 狂斎漫画 [Cartoons by Kyōsai]
 Artist Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
ōsai 斎 with triangular shaped seal and characters reading Seisei 惺々
top left panel
  Seisei Kyōsai (惺々狂斎) with Kyō and sai seals of the artist 
bottom left panel
unread signature
right panel
 Seal of the Artist
Three of the artist's seals appear on this print.  Two, as shown above, appear with Kyōsai's signature in the two panels on the left and the third, shown here on the left, appears in the fan of the drunken dancer on the bottom panel.
 Publication Date
1864 (Bunkyū 4), 7th month [date and aratame censor seal 子七改]
Tsujiokaya Bunsuke 辻岡文助
Tsujioka Bunsuke 辻文版 with bun stylized seal 文 printed on top margin to left of series title.
[Marks: pub. ref. 548; seal 02-064]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - slight wrinkling; unbacked
 Genre ukiyo-e, harimaze-e, giga-e
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 14 3/4 x 9 3/4 in. (37.5 x 24.8 cm) 
 H x W Image
 14 1/16 x 9 in. (35.7 x 22.9 cm) note: measurement includes the kanji information at the top of the print
 Collections This Print Kawanabe Kyosai Memorial Museum
 Reference Literature 
 Comic Genius: Kawanabe Kyōsai, Oikawa Shigeru, Timothy Clark and Matthi Forrer, Tokyo Shinbun, 1996, p. 225, fig. 128.
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