The Actor Ichikawa Ebizo as Kudo Suketsune

Artist: Katsukawa Shun'ei 勝川春英 (1762-1819)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1793
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 33.7 x 14.8 cm (13 1/4 x 5 13/16 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Anne van Biema collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

actor, Anne van Biema collection, bow, Edo period (1615 - 1868), hosoban, Japan, kabuki, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, WWII-era provenance, yakusha-e
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Peter Morse American
Pierre Barboutau 1862 - 1916
Anne van Biema American, 1915 - 2004
Merlin Dailey American, born 1931


The actor Ichikawa Ebizo (1741-1806) is portrayed as Kudo Suketsune, the villain of the many kabuki plays that relate the story of the Soga brothers' vendetta against their uncle, Kudo, who was responsible for the death of their father. Here the warrior wears a costume richly ornamented with large lobsters (ebi), which allude to the actor's name, Ebizo. He strikes a powerful pose that is made more emphatic by the tall bow in his hands. This print by Shun'ei captures faithfully the individual features of the actor who later became Ichikawa Danjuro V. An unusual feature of the background of the stage set is the grove of bamboo that is rendered in brushstrokes reminiscent of an ink painting. The beauty of color printing can be appreciated in this print, in which the delicate colors are well preserved.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 21, p. 94-95.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum