The Actors Ogino Isaburo as Soga no Goro and Sawamura Sojuro I as Kudo no Suketsune

Maker(s)
Artist: Torii Kiyomasu II (1706?-1763?)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1732
Medium
Woodblock print; ink, hand-applied color, brass and embossing on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 31.9 x 15.7 cm (12 9/16 x 6 3/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.4
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

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

Fight scenes are a highlight of many kabuki plays, especially jidaimono, period plays based on historical events. Here the villain Kudo Suketsune, played by the actor Sawamura Sojuro I, brandishes a giant ax as he attacks the young hero Soga no Goro, played by Ogino Isaburo. The exaggerated, dancelike poses struck by the actors are choreographed to heighten the visual effect of the struggle. The story of the Soga brothers' vendetta against the uncle who had killed their father was first made popular in puppet plays by Chikamatsu Monzaemon. By the 1730s, Soga plays were regularly included in New Year kabuki performances. The powerful linear expression and the stylized figures in this print are characteristic of the dynamic style of actor prints that became a specialty of the Torii school of artists.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 3, pp. 58-59.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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