Actor Bandō Mitsugorō III as the Maiden of Dōjō-ji

Artist: Utagawa Kunisada 歌川国貞 (1786-1865)
Publisher: Suzuki Ihei 鈴木伊兵衛 (act. c. 1810-1819)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1816
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 36.3 x 25.6 cm (14 5/16 x 10 1/16 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

actor, Anne van Biema collection, demon, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kabuki, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

Bando Mitsugoro III (1773-1831), a leading star of the Edo stage in the early nineteenth century, performs a spectacular dance piece in which the Maiden of Dojoji transforms herself into a demon. The demonic form of a character is often revealed through rapid, seemingly instantaneous costume changes achieved by wearing multilayered costumes that can be readily removed. Actors displayed their virtuosity in roles such as the Maiden of Dojoji, a young girl named Kiyo who had fallen into unrequited love with a young priest. After destroying the temple bell and the object of her affection in a fit of anger over his rejection, she returns to the temple in the guise of a young pilgrim and reveals her true identity in the course of a dance. Mitsugoro engaged in an artistic rivalry with the Osaka actor, Nakamura Utaemon III when the latter came to act in Edo, and transformation pieces like this dance were one of the areas in which the actors competed.

Published References
  • Ann McClellan. The Cherry Blossom Festival. Boston. p. 19.
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 36, pp. 122-123.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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