Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)
The villainous ex-samurai Tamiya Iemon faces the reproachful ghosts of his dead, disfigured wife Oiwa and the servant Kohei whom he has killed. From the background the giant skull of Oiwa vengefully stares down at him.
A scene from the famous horror drama "Yotsuya Kaidan" (a Ghost Story of Yotsuya), performed here at the Ichimura Theatre in Edo in the 9th month of 1848 under the title "Manete Mimasu yotsuya no kikigaki", with the actor Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII in the role of the rônin Tamiya Iemon, and Ichikawa Kodanji IV in the role of the two ghosts.
Untitled - Oiwa no yûkon (Ghost of OIwa) / Kohei no yûkon (Ghost of Kohei) / Tamiya (N)iemon
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga
Seal: Kiri mon
Publisher: Ôtaya Takichi, Edo
Censor seals: Muramatsu, Yoshimura
Date: 1848, 9th month
Size: Ôban diptych, overall c. 36,6 x 49,5 cm
Excellent impression in very nice colours, with some embossing and well visible wood grain. The two sheets probably untrimmed. Unbacked and separate. Horizontal centrefolds. Some smaller wormholes and small holes, partly backed with paper strips by an older hand. Left sheet with horizontal crease at the top, otherwise only slightly creased. Minimal stains and soiling, an old ink smudge in the left sheet. Extremely rare ghost scene. So far no other copy traceable. The copy illustrated in Kuniyoshi Project (Actor triptych 1848, part VII) is obviously this one.