Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Between Tsuchiyama and Minakuchi–Matsuno-o/Matsuomaru

Artist: Utagawa Kunisada 歌川国貞 (1786-1865)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1852, 9th month
Woodblock print; ink, color and embossing on paper
H x W (overall): 35 x 24.9 cm (13 3/4 x 9 13/16 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, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

This print is one of more than four hundred designed in this style by Kunisada within a single year, 1852. In each print, an actor is portrayed against a landscape. Due to the residual effects of a ban on actor prints by the Tokugawa government in 1842, the actors' names are not inscribed, but their roles may be indicated. Recently deceased stars who would still have been remembered were also included in Kunisada's series. Here Matsumoto Koshiro V's famous profile is shown against a landscape of Matsuno-o, one of the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido that had become famous through the many series of prints by Hiroshige. His role is that of Matsuomaru, a character in the play, "Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy" (Sugawara denju tenarai kagami).

Actor prints were instrumental in spreading the fame of actors during their lifetimes, but also, through posthumous images, in recalling the achievements of great actors and performances.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 42, pp. 138-139.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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