二代坂東三津五郎 (Bando Mitsugoro II)

Designer: Toshusai Sharaku | Carver: David Bull | Printer: David Bull

Paper size: 23.5cm by 15.5cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [M] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 80.00£ 64.75€ 73.75

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Description: (Dave’s notes) Certainly no doubt at all about the designer of this print - Toshusai Sharaku! This is a reproduction of one of his famous actor prints, and depicts the kabuki actor Bando Mitsugoro II in the role of Ishii Genzo, in the play ‘Hana Ayame Bunroku Soga’.

A great deal has been written about Sharaku, about the mystery of who he was, where he came from, and why he ‘disappeared’ so suddenly after producing so many interesting print designs in such a short time. Quite an ‘industry’ has grown up around these questions: I was buttonholed at one of my exhibitions a few years ago by an elderly gentleman who had gone to the expense of publishing his own research volume describing how Sharaku was really Hokusai working under another name (it seems the key point was the way in which big toes were drawn in a similar fashion!). As I certainly don’t have anything to add to such debates, I’ll leave the detective work and analysis to the scholars and stick to the job of trying to produce the print as well as I can!

There is quite a lot of detail in this print that might escape first notice. For example, this actor’s hair is printed from two blocks, one in light grey and one in dark black. The registration between these two blocks is critical (particularly in the area of the mouth and eyes), and as the light grey is printed right at the beginning of the process, to be followed by the dark black only at the very end after the paper has been repeatedly printed (and stretched) with all the other colours and the background, it is quite a challenge to get them lined up properly.

And the printing of the mica background is far from easy. We should warn you that when you are handling this print, it would be best not to touch the background area with your bare fingers, as this may leave marks on the shiny reflective surface ...

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