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A Contest of Magic Scenes, by Toyokuni (Series Title Page)

Utagawa Yoshitora
1864

The title page to Utagawa Kunisada's (Toyokuni III) series 'A Contest of Magic Scenes, by Toyokuni'. In the series, which ran from 1861-64, Kunisada depicted actors in magical and mystical scenes from old tales often used in kabuki productions. Although the series was designed by Kunisada, the title page was composed by Utagawa Yoshitora (歌川 芳虎) as Kunisada passed away before it was completed.


This print depicts the interior of an abandoned temple or palace with a large sign indicating the series' title in the upper left corner. The right side shows a spider on its web holding a long scroll that cascades over an altar table and ends with a reading rat. This scroll holds a table of contents with the names of all the prints in the set. It is surrounded by bats and moths that fly towards a huge supernatural frog. The frog peers into the room through a hole in the tattered bamboo blinds (sudare).

It is possible that object information will be updated as new research findings are discovered. Please email kentonicollection@gmail.com if you can improve this record.

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