What is Shigeharu's Frog Rock Magical Mystery Story ?


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Posted by Arnold Satterthwait on May 01, 2003 at 01:06:19:

I recently acquired at auction Shigeharu's Frog Rock, an oban diptych, which Dean Schwaab describes in "Osaka Prints" as Shigeharu's "Shijo-Style masterpiece" (p156, Plate 153). However, Schwaab provides no further description of a mysterious scene that is one of the attractions of the piece. If anyone is familiar with the story behind this print, I'd love to hear it.
For a convenient view of the print, I have to refer you to www.japaneseprints.com, click on Print Gallery, click on Shigeharu, then view #5 which you can enlarge by clicking on the picture.
To whet your appetite, the right panel shows the actor Arashi Rikan as Shogun Taro, leaning contemplatively on a subtly disguised frog-shaped rock in the mountains. Frogs typically confer magic. The left-hand panel continues with a more elaborated mountain tableau with a waterfall where a man whose size is considerably reduced in scale (compared with the Shogun) is at the gate of a house from which a woman also reduced in scale has emerged. Three names of actors and possibly their roles float above the scene in the left panel.



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