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Kawanabe KYOSAI
(1831 - 1889)
A Bunraku puppet player holding a puppet, a temple entrance, and the study of a woman's
head - more details at the bottom of this page. - Preparatory drawing for a fan print ('uchiwa-e')

Preparatory brush drawing; sumi (black ink) on thin paper;
with a rough first outline in red color.

Date:                   c. 1850s
Size of sheet:      c. 28 x 38.5 cms / c. 11" x 15"

Very good general condition, minor paper defects, not unusual for
such rough sketches; mounted on backing paper and cardboard with
decorative borders (not shon in the illustration).

Ref. no.: # S-1635-6
Price:  € 2,850.00
First sketches in black ink and a red underdrawing depicting a Bunraku puppet player wearing a mask, with the puppet in his right hand, in the center of the sheet. To the right a study of the entrance to an Osaka temple, with a huge sign board announcing the opening of the Dai-Nen Butsu-Ji (a temple in Osaka). The two elements are encircled by a thin red line in the form of a fan, - so these two elements of the drawing seem to be the study for a fan print (uchiwa-e). - At left, we see the sketch of a womans head.

It should be mentioned that the inscription to the left of the puppet player reads 'hayagawari' which refers to one of the spectacular elements of a kabuki perfortmance, the 'Quick change technique', used when actors playing more than one role in the same scene make quick changes of costume and make-up from one role to another.

Finally it should be noted that a 'pentimento', a small piece of paper pasted over the initial sketch of the player's and the puppet's heads, shows minor corrections to their positions.

KYOSAI, as a child, was a pupil of Utagawa KUNIYOSHI, whose influence is clearly visible in this early work. - Drawings by Kyosai are exremely rare, most of which are now in the collection of the Kyosai Memorial Museum in Japan.

Two more preliminary drawings for fan prints, one by by KYOSAI, and another by KUNIYOSHI, are shown in this gallery section ('previous page' button) , as well.

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