The Actors Nakamura Utaemon III as Kanawa Goro Imanuki and Arashi Koroku IV as Omiwa

Maker(s)
Artist: Hokushu (fl. ca. 1810-1832)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1821
Medium
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 38 x 26 cm (14 15/16 x 10 1/4 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.257
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

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

In a scene of confrontation from a play loosely based on the intrigue surrounding the ascendancy of the Fujiwara family against the Soga family in the seventh century, the great actor Nakamura Utaemon III confronts Omiwa, played by Arashi Koroku IV (1783-1826), a leading onnagata in Osaka. Omiwa follows a thread attached to the clothing of the Fujiwara prince with whom she has fallen in love. After following the thread to Soga no Iruka's (?-645) palace, she flies into a jealous rage when she finds that the prince is engaged to marry Iruka's sister. Fujiwara no Kamatari's (614-669) retainer stops Omiwa and stabs her, explaining as she dies that her blood, that of a woman in a jealous rage, will help to empower his flute to break Iruka's power against his enemies. Here the doomed Omiwa holds the spool she believes is still attached to her beloved. This print by Hokushu, the leading designer of Osaka actor prints, is a good example of his half-length portraits of pairs of actors. Superb design and block engraving can be seen in details such as the hair.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 46, pp. 146-147.
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.