The Actors Ichikawa Danjuro IV in a “Shibaraku” Role and Nakamura Sukegoro II as a Samurai

Artist: Katsukawa Shunshō 勝川春章 (1726-1792)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 11/1/1768
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 30 x 14 cm (11 13/16 x 5 1/2 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), hosoban, Japan, kabuki, portrait, samurai, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

Ichikawa Danjuro IV performs a "Shibaraku" role in this dynamic print by Shunsho. The actor grasps a pillar as he brandishes his long sword, still in its scabbard, over a cowering samurai played by Nakamura Sukegoro II (1745-1806). The Ichikawa family of actors established this scene as a regular feature of season-opening performances (kaomise). This early print by Shunsho is likely to represent a performance of the play The Genji Clan Now at Its Zenith (Ima wo sakari suehiro Genji), which was performed at the Nakamura Theater in the eleventh lunar month of 1768.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 9, pp. 70-71.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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