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Saruwaka no Takaramono from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Saruwaka no Takaramono 猿若の宝物

(Treasure of Saruwaka)

from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater

by Adachi Ginkō, 1897

Fūbunkiki from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater
IHL Cat. #1610

About This Print

This print, part of a series of twenty-five prints (plus a prolog/index print)  picturing events in a typical year in an Edo theater, depicts the actor Ichikawa Danjūrō explaining the origins of the gold military baton given to Saruwaka Kanzaburō (1597?-1658, the founder of Edo-style kabuki and its first licensed kabuki theater in 1624.  The baton was one of the rewards given to Kanzaburō by the Shogun as a reward for entertaining the Shogun while he was on his pleasure boat Atakmaru in Edo bay in 1633.

Scroll Transcription
“猿若の寶物 寛永九申年 徳川家の軍船安宅丸伊豆國より江戸へ来りし時 猿若勘三郎に命じて舩首にて木遣り音頭を唱はしむ 此節金の麾(ざい)を賜ハる 勘三郎代々の寶物となし甲子の年又ハ座元代替り等にハ此の麾をも他の宝物と共に舞臺へ陳列し勘三郎覆面にて寶を捧げ市川團十郎此の来歴を述べ次で木遣り音頭を唱ふ 夫れより猿若狂言を演ずるを吉例と為す 千秋? 旭の?に鶴の舞ひ振り ??になり”

About This Series

Ōedo Shibai Nenjū Gyōji drawn by Adachi Ginko [with two prints contributed by Torii Kiyosada (1844-1901)] is a set of twenty-six prints (including an index page), depicting the manners and customs relating to Kabuki plays/theaters in the Saruwaka-chō, the Kabuki theater district which flourished until 1867, the first year of the Meiji Era. The Ritsumeikan Art Research Center posits that this series was issued in response to the public's "remarkable nostalgia for Edo period, the 'Great Tokugawa Epoch'."  It goes on to say that this series is a continuation of the many earlier Kabuki theater guidebooks which "introduce[d] not only about things on a stage but also properties, organization of theatres and backstage."  

At least two editions of this series were released.  One edition, likely an earlier edition, contains the publisher's name, Hasegawa  Sumi, and associated publishing and printing information along the left margin.  This earlier edition, with the publishing information, is often found bound into volumes, with the margins of the prints trimmed back. My guess is that these bound volumes were created by the publisher. Later edition prints all have an embossed border around the entire image which is not present on the earlier edition and have wider margins. It is possible that the later edition prints were sold by subscription.

To view the entire series go to this collection's print Title Page from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater.

Differences Between the Two Editions

1. All earlier edition prints contain the publishing and printing information, including dates, along the left margin.  In the later edition of prints  only the Index/Prologue print contains any publishing information, with the publishing house 長谷川 板 (Hasegawa han), proceeded by the publisher's address, embossed in the lower left corner.   No date is given on this print or any other later edition prints.
2. Most earlier edition prints contain the artist's signature and/or seal.  Later editions do not carry the artist's signature or seal.
3. All later edition prints contain an approximately 1/2" wide embossed border around the entire image area not present on the earlier edition.
4. Some later edition prints may have had the original blocks reworked.

Earlier Edition of This Print

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Saruwaka no Takaramono 猿若の宝物 (Treasure of Saruwaka)
 Series Annual Events of the Edo Theatre
 Ō-Edo shibai nenjū-gyōji 大江戸しばゐねんぢうぎやうじ
 Artist Adachi Ginkō (active 1874 – 1897)
 Signature unsigned
 Seal no seal
 Publication Date 1897 (Meiji 30)
 Hasegawa Sumi 長谷川 寿美 [Publisher seal is not present on this print]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 condition excellent
 Genre ukiyo-e 
 Miscellaneous an approximately 1/2" wide embossed pattern surrounds the image area
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 15 11/16 x 10 13/16 in. (39.8 x 27.5 cm) 
 H x W Image
 13 3/4 x 9 in. (34.9 x 22.9 cm)
 Collections This Print
 British Museum 1983,0523,0.3.4; The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-0699; Museum of Fine Arts Boston RES.53.27; National Diet Library 1309619; Edo-Tokyo Museum (Tokyo Digital Museum 91970049; Tokyo Metropolitan Library 577-010-4ア; Ritsumeikan Art Reseach Center AcNo. arcUP2042  CoGNo. arcUP2039  AlGNo. arcUP2039