The Actors Sawamura Sojuro I as Katsumoto and Ichikawa Monnosuke I as Yoshimasa

Maker(s)
Artist: Okumura Toshinobu 奥村利信 (fl. ca. 1717-1750)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1724 November
Medium
Woodblock print; ink, hand-applied color and brass powder on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 32.1 x 16 cm (12 5/8 x 6 5/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.1
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

Keywords
actor, Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), hosoban, Japan, kabuki, theater, ukiyo-e, WWII-era provenance, yakusha-e
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

Kabuki actors were a popular subject of Japanese prints. Versatile and innovative, the top actors often played a wide range of male and female roles. The actors here, both charismatic stars in the Edo theatrical world, play young warriors in a period drama loosely based on events in the fifteenth century. At right, Sawamura Sojuro I (1685-1756) plays Hosokawa Katsumoto (1430-1473), while Ichikawa Monnosuke I (1691-1729) plays the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436-1490), whose devotion to cultural pursuits is displayed in the motifs of tea ceremony utensils on his kimono. The prominent circular motifs on the actors' sleeves are their family crests. This print is an example of an urushi-e (lacquer picture), a style of hand coloring applied to prints from a single carved woodblock. Glittering metal powders and a glossy black created by adding glue to ink create a luxurious effect resembling Japanese, gold-decorated lacquer ware.


Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 1, pp. 54-55.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.