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Kyōsai hyakuzu, Ōtsue no tawamure


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Ōtsue no tawamure

from the series Kyōsai Hyakuzu

by Kawanabe Kyōsai, c. 1863-1866

IHL Cat. #452

About this Print and the Series Kyōsai Hyakuzu

The Series
Source: Comic Genius: Kawanabe Kyōsai, Oikawa Shigeru, Clark Timothy and Forrer Matthi, Tokyo Shinbun, 1996, p. 206.
This print was issued as part of the series the Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyōsai) which consists of more than 200 pictorializations of proverbs and depictions of famous subjects unrelated to proverbs. The prints were published continuously from 1863 to 1866* by the publisher Wakasaya and the works were later reprinted in album form by the publisher Ōkura Magobei (Ōkuraya) in 1881 and 1886.  The prints in this collection are likely from one of Ōkura Magobei's reprint editions, as they show evidence of having been removed from an album. 

One hundred of the proverbs depicted in Kyōsai hyakuzu were translated into French in 1885 under the title Cent Proverbes Japonais by Francis Steenackers and Ueda Tokunosuke.

This print series was very popular, enhancing Kyōsai's reputation and making a large profit for the publishers.

*1863-1866 are the most common publication dates provided for these prints, though the literature cites dates as early as 1862 for the first publication date and reprints of this series are still being made.  The prints were first issued by publisher Wakasaya Yoichi (aka Jakurindo Yoichi) as single-sheet prints, sold in ten print packages in a decorative envelope.  Ōkura Magobei re-published the prints in bound book/album form in the 1880s.  

The Print
This print titled Ōtsue no tawamure depicts two sumo wrestlers with various observers, including a very red demon.  The word otsue is a reference to small woodblock prints and sketches of popular religious subjects that were popular into the 1880s and the word tamamure can be translated as "joke" or "fun".

1 Ukiyoe Caricatures, University of Vienna http://kenkyuu.jpn.univie.ac.at/karikaturen/en/kunstler.htm

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description  Ōtsue no tawamure
 Artist  Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
 Series Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyosai)
Motome ni ōjite Shōjō Kyōsai
 Seal (of the artist)  None
 Publication Date  likely c. 1880s (originally c. 1863-1866)
Ōkura Magobei 
seal reading 大倉版 Ōkurahan
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition excellent - original album backing
 Genre  ukiyo-e; giga (comic print)
 Format  koban [Vertical yotsugiri (quarter ôban)]
 H x W Paper
 7 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (18.4 x 12.1 cm)
 Reference Literature