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Ichikawa Danjuro VII as Kibazo, by Utagawa Kunisada

Image attached to P.505-1937

An image of Ichikawa Danjûrô VII as Kibazô and Iwai Shijaku I as Shirotae in Sakigake Genji no kiba-musha performed at the Kawarazaki theatre in 11/1828. Kunisada, Utagawa (Japanese, 1786-1865). Surimono. Colour print from woodblocks, with metallic pigment, blind embossing (karazuri) and mica flecking the blue background. Shikishiban. Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga. Ukiyo-e. Notes: One of many plays based on the Gempei seisuiki (Account of the Gempei wars) and Heike monogatari (Tales of the Heike), involving incidents from the wars between the Heike and Genji clans in the 12th century. Kibazô (in reality Aku-genda Yoshihira) holds a white banner with the sasa-rindô crest of the Genji (Minamoto) clan, the end of which is draped over his wife Shirotae. Such plays with mimed scenes (dammari) played in the dark with pairs of actors pulling flags were normally played at the kaomise (‘face-showing’) productions at the beginning of the season. Iwai Shijaku, his father Iwai Hanshirô V, and his brother Iwai Kumesaburô II, were (along with Segawa Kikunojô V) the leading onnagata of the Bunka-Bunsei eras (1804-30). The kyôka verse embossed in bronze in the blue background playfully refers to the New Year custom of scooping fresh water (wakamizu), while punning on the literal meanings of the family names of the actors: Iwai (‘mountain spring’) and Ichikawa (‘stream through the marketplace’).

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Ichikawa Danjûrô VII as Kibazô and Iwai Shijaku I as Shirotae in Sakigake Genji no kiba-musha performed at the Kawarazaki theatre in 11/1828. Kunisada, Utagawa (Japanese, 1786-1865). Surimono. Colour print from woodblocks, with metallic pigment, blind embossing (karazuri) and mica flecking the blue background. Shikishiban. Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga. Ukiyo-e. Notes: One of many plays based on the Gempei seisuiki (Account of the Gempei wars) and Heike monogatari (Tales of the Heike), involving incidents from the wars between the Heike and Genji clans in the 12th century. Kibazô (in reality Aku-genda Yoshihira) holds a white banner with the sasa-rindô crest of the Genji (Minamoto) clan, the end of which is draped over his wife Shirotae. Such plays with mimed scenes (dammari) played in the dark with pairs of actors pulling flags were normally played at the kaomise (‘face-showing’) productions at the beginning of the season. Iwai Shijaku, his father Iwai Hanshirô V, and his brother Iwai Kumesaburô II, were (along with Segawa Kikunojô V) the leading onnagata of the Bunka-Bunsei eras (1804-30). The kyôka verse embossed in bronze in the blue background playfully refers to the New Year custom of scooping fresh water (wakamizu), while punning on the literal meanings of the family names of the actors: Iwai (‘mountain spring’) and Ichikawa (‘stream through the marketplace’).

Image data

  • Accession Number: P.505-1937
  • Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
  • Photographer name: Image Library; Fitzwilliam Museum
  • Image height: 1025 pixels
  • Image width: 898 pixels
  • Processed with: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.0 (Windows)
  • Filesize: 1.30MB

Key words

19th Century acting actor actors banner blind embossing colour printing costume Edo Period embossed embossing Fitz_PDP flags Gempei seisuiki Gempei wars Heike monogatari housewife Ichikawa Danjuro Iwai Shijaku Japanese karazuri Kibazo kira Kunisada kyoka verse male metallic pigment mica performance performer performing pigment plays poem poetry poets print role Shirotae stories story surimono tales Tales of the Heike theatre theatrical ukiyo-e Utagawa Kunisada verses wars wife woodblock woodcut

Colours in this image

rgb(228,207,181), rgb(48,84,112), rgb(48,37,29), rgb(127,104,85), rgb(183,75,56), rgb(146,137,121), rgb(57,62,65), rgb(178,125,79), rgb(28,35,53), rgb(156,172,160), rgb(156,164,172)

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