The Triplets Toneri Matsuomaru, Toneri Umeomaru, And Toneri Sakuramaru
by Toyohara Kunichika

Available at Scholten Japanese Art

  • Date: 1866
  • Type: Prints
  • Medium: Woodblock
  • Edition size: n/a
  • Sheet Size: 35.6 by 73.9 cm
  • Signed: Signed
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Price: $1100.00

Description — Click to read

signed Kunichika hitsu with Toshidama artist's seal, publisher's seal Hayashi (Iseya Rihei of Kinjudo), carver's seal Hori Sennosuke(Sugawa Sennosuke), combined censor and date seal Tora-kyu, aratame (year of the tiger [1866], 9th month, examined)

oban tate-e triptych 14 by 29 1/8 in., 35.6 by 73.9 cm

In the right sheet, the actor Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899) is in the role of Toneri Matsuomaru; in the center sheet, the actor Ichikawa Kuzo III (Ichikawa Danzo VII, 1836-1911) is in the role of Toneri Umeomaru; and in the right sheet, the actor Sawamura Tanosuke III (1845-1878) is in the role of Toneri Sakuramaru, brothers from the play Sugawara Denju Tenari Kagami (Sugawara's Secrets of Calligraphy). Though the play is mainly about Sugawara Michizane, based on a historical Heian period statesman and poet (845-903), while it was being written a group of triplets were born, prompting the authors to write-in the three Toneri brothers as the loyal sons of Sugawara's retainer, Shiratayu, and name them after the classic trio of trees: matsu (pine), ume (plum), and sakura (cherry). In the play the brothers' loyalty is divided after Sugawara is wrongfully accused of trying to ascend the throne.

References: Arendie and Henk Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage, 2004, pp. 157-165 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (, from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.41723a-c

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