The Actor Nakamura Utaemon III as Ishikawa Goemon

Maker(s)
Artist: Gigadō Ashiyuki 戯画堂芦幸 (active ca. 1814–33)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1817
Medium
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 38.7 x 26.3 cm (15 1/4 x 10 3/8 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.246
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

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

This print was published in 1817 at the height of the rivalry between the actor Nakamura Utaemon III, shown here in the role of Ishikawa Goemon, and Arashi Kichisaburo II, shown in the print to the left. The fictional character Ishikawa Goemon was inspired by stories of a ronin (masterless samurai) bandit who was ultimately captured by the hegemon Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), and along with his son was boiled in oil. Goemon's exploits became a popular subject of puppet and kabuki performances in Osaka beginning in the late seventeenth century. Here Utaemon wears a costume decorated with a pattern of chess pieces reading "dragon king." He carries a long sword and a large chest is strapped to his back. The fictional Goemon became a sympathetic character who resisted authority by repeatedly evading capture.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 44, pp. 142-143.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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