There are times when we come across a print and just have to procure it because it’s just so… interesting and unique and weird. This is one of those times.
This is a satirical print(?) by Utagawa Yoshiharu entitled “Ryūkō hai zukushi” 流行はい尽し. While showing the print at a recent event one of the people in the shop pointed out that this seems to be the dream of the man at the bottom who is (potentially) getting high on opium (see the dream bubble around the top 2/3rds.
The date/censor seal is for 1860.6, and the publisher is Jōshūya Jūbei 上州屋重兵衛.
Another impression of this can be found on this Japanese-language page (item #59).
The Woodblock Print
This oban-sized woodblock is in poor to fair condition, but considering we can only find one other copy elsewhere, there’s very little to judge it by or judge it to.
About the Artist
Utagawa Yoshiharu (1828 – 1888) was a print designer and book illustrator, a pupil first of Yanagawa Shigenobu II and later Utagawa Kuniyoshi, He produced bijinga, kaika-e, musha-e, omocha-e, but specialized in pictures of performers. It has been written that Yoshiharu actually wanted to become a kabuki actor but his adopted father was opposed to this. Instead he became a pupil of Kuniyoshi. He is also said to have worked as an illustrator for a newspaper.