The Evil Omatsu

Toyohara Kunichika

Evil Omatsu belongs to the genre of wicked women plays. Based on the true story of Omatsu, an outcast who used her beauty to rise socially, marry and then poison her older wealthy husband, a blind samurai. She became a bandit and gang leader and because she was female, was seen as a dangerous character. Omatsu is drawn wringing her clothes out. 

Amy Reigle Newland devoted a whole paragraph on page 18 to the significance of this series, i.e., Zen-aku sanjūroku bijin, at the beginning of her book on Kunichika: "Thirty-six good and evil beauties (Zen-aku sanjūroku bijin)... of 1876 is arguably one of Kunichika's most accomplished forays into bijinga. The quality of printing is superb. His treatment of the subject is fluid, the women portrayed energetic, wild, their poses at times reminiscent of those encountered in the work of earlier artists like Kuniyoshi and Kunisada, and in his own actor prints... Each sheet in Thirty-six good and evil beauties illustrates a famous woman from distant or more recent history with an explanatory cartouche above by a contemporary writer."

 

Condition: Margins as shown, good condition, not backed.

Date: 1876