Kunisada Utagawa (Toyokuni III)
The Syllable Sa for Summer Rain (Matsumoto Koshiro V) - From the series "Seisho nanatsu iroha" 清書七伊呂波 (The seven Variations of the Iroha). Iroha is a kana ordering based on a poem which contains each kana (Japanese syllabary) used once. Put in order, the syllables form a poem that is generally attributed to the founder of the Shingon Esoteric sect of Buddhism in Japan, monk Kukai. The poem was frequently used as an ordering of the kana until the Meiji era reforms in the 19th century, just like 'a, b, c...' in English.
Title: Kabuki play, Matsumoto Koshiro V as Takechi Mitsuhide
Series title: The seven Variations of the Iroha
Date: 1856 (Ansei 3), 6th month
Condition: Trimmed, not backed.
See Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: https://collections.mfa.org/objects/534145