Utagawa Toyokuni III (Kunisada I).
甲子曽我大国柱」若菜姫／沢村田之助 他 二枚続 裏打
An oban tate-e diptych of the kabuki play Shiranui monogatari (The Tale of Shiranui), depicting Princess Wakana using the magic of the spider scroll to conjure a giant spider to assist her in her fight with her enemy. Staged at the Morita-za Theatre in the 2nd month of 1864.
From left: the Kabuki actors Nakamura Shikan IV playing the role of Shūsaku, and Sawamura Tanosuke III in the role of Wakana-hime.
In very ancient books it is said there used to be many goblin-spiders in Japan. Some folks declare there are still some goblin-spiders. During the daytime they look just like common spiders; but very late at night, when everybody is asleep, and there is no sound, they become very big, and do awful things. Goblin-spiders are supposed also to have the magical power of taking human shape, so as to deceive people.
Condition: Faded with age, margins as shown.
Publisher’s Mark: ‘Etsu-ka’ = Echizen-ya Kajū (「越嘉」 = 越前屋嘉十)