The Eighteen Plays of the Ichikawa Clan: Actor Ichikawa Danjuro VIII as the Medicine Vendor Toraya Tokichi

Maker(s)
Artist: Utagawa Kunisada 歌川国貞 (1786-1864)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1852: 3rd month
Medium
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 36.5 x 25.3 cm (14 3/8 x 9 15/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.143
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

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

This print comes from a set of eighteen designs, each portraying an actor of the Danjuro line in a role from "The Kabuki Eighteen" (Kabuki juhachiban), the representative collection of great plays of the family repertoire compiled in 1840 by Ichikawa Danjuro VII. Here his talented son plays the role of an itinerant medicine vendor in a Sukeroku play, one of the specialties of the Ichikawa family. Such roles featured rapid delivery of a witty sales pitch and highlighted the actor's skill in vocal performance. Danjuro's striking costume is decorated with coins, and his fan is inscribed with the stylized character for long life. Ironically, tensions with his father culminated in Danjuro VIII's suicide in Osaka just two years after the publication of this portrait. The exceptional quality of the printing exemplifies the artistic collaboration between Kunisada and his publisher.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 41, pp. 136-137.
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.