Re: Unsigned print

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Posted by Alec W. ( on April 10, 2021 at 04:32:15:

In Reply to: Unsigned print posted by Marcel ebben on April 08, 2021 at 13:22:14:

The print is an example of a "kōkanfuda" 交換札, usually translated as "exchange slip". Kōkanfuda were a more elaborate cousin to the "senjafuda", or "votive slip", which was (and is!) a small slip pasted to a temple or shrine wall as a pilgrimage activity. Unlike senjafuda, kōkanfuda weren't meant for pasting, but rather for trading with fellow fuda enthusiasts.

Senjafuda had a standard size, about 5cm by 15cm. The decorative border on a kōkanfuda indicates what size it is in multiples of a senjafuda -- your example is 2x2, so it should be about 10cm wide and 30cm tall.

The text at the bottom are possibly names of members of the club that the person who commissioned this design belonged to. The top cartouche, in blue, seems more like a title to me -- it reads "Samanosuke / Sōjirō" 左馬之助・宗十郎. My guess is that this refers to Takeda Samanosuke (or a character based on him) as played by an actor belonging to a "Sōjūrō" line, perhaps either Sawamura Sōjūrō or Nakamura Sōjūrō. But I don't know of a specific performance that this might refer to.

There's an extensive discussion of both types of "fuda" in Rebecca Salter's "Japanese Popular Prints" (2006) which I quite recommend.


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