Hydrangea (Ajisai): Actors Bandô Takesaburô I and Nakamura Tsuruzô I, from the series Selection of Six Flowers Currently in Full Bloom (Tôsei rokkasen)

「当盛六花撰 紫陽花」 初代坂東竹三郎、初代中村鶴蔵

Edo period
1854 (Kaei 7/Ansei 1), 6th month
Artist Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III) (Japanese, 1786–1864), Artist Utagawa Hiroshige I (Japanese, 1797–1858), Publisher Ebisuya Shôshichi (Kinshôdô) (Japanese)

Catalogue Raisonné

Kurahashi, "Kunisada no yakusha sentaku," Ukiyo-e Art 170 (2015), fig. 1-2 (NDL); Ôta Memorial Museum of Art, Edo engei hana zukushi (2009), #66 (second edition, "Ten Flowers")


Vertical ôban; 34.7 x 24 cm (13 11/16 x 9 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

Not On View


Asia, Prints and Drawings



MFA impressions: 11.29246 (first edition, series of 6), 11.42316 (second edition, series of 10), 11.45297 (second edition, series of 10)

From a series first issued in 1854, in six sheets, under the title “Six Flowers…,” and reissued in 1858 with four additional designs, under the title “Ten Flowers…” For the sheets already published, the censor’s seals remain the same in the second edition; but the series title and some of the actors’ faces are changed.


Toyokuni ga, in toshidama cartouche (foreground); Hiroshige hitsu (background)


Censor's seals: aratame, Tiger 6
No blockcutter's mark


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911)

[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection