The Actors Arashi Sangoro II as Tadanobu and Segawa Kikunojo III as Shikuza Gozen in the Play Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees

Artist: Katsukawa Shunshō 勝川春章 (1726-1792)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1774
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 32.1 x 14.8 cm (12 5/8 x 5 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, drum, Edo period (1615 - 1868), fox, hosoban, Japan, kabuki, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

Dance (buyo) is a central element of kabuki performance. Here, in a famous episode from the play, Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees (Yoshitsune sembonzakura), the actor Arashi Sangoro II (1732-1803) performs a dance in which he struggles not to reveal his true identity as a fox-spirit who has assumed the form of the warrior Tadanobu so that he may remain near the drum that was made from his father's skin. In this dance, as Yoshitsune's mistress Shizuka Gozen (played by Segawa Kikunojo III) plays the hand drum, Tadanobu's movements and gestures increasingly become more foxlike. The dance culminates in a rapid exit along the hanamichi, the stage extension that runs through the audience.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 11, pp. 74-75.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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