Re: Kunisada triptych

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Posted by PAUL GRIFFITH ( on October 02, 2016 at 11:15:14:

In Reply to: Re: Kunisada triptych posted by Elaine Boatin on September 30, 2016 at 23:50:32:

My source for saying it may be the "tray of food previously prepared by Okinoi" is the Kabuki play itself. When Masaoka first appears to the audience in the 'Goten no Ba' she is standing with this tray of food in her hands. If you use this link you'll see an illustration of the DVD cover that shows exactly what I'm talking about:
I happen to know this play quite well because I translated it into English for this DVD, as well as for the English subtitles shown inside the Kabuki-za in Tokyo.
Regarding the bird cage, again, it is a famous part of the play. While Masaoka cooks the rice for the boys she instructs Senmatsu to entertain their young lord by taking out the bird cage because it is time for the parent sparrows to come and feed their chicks. A little later, she orders him to sing the 'Sparrow Song' (NOT 'Swallow'), the lyrics of which begin, "Once behind the house, there was a little tree, and high up in the branches sat little sparrows three..." etc. The motif of 'sparrows among bamboo' is very important because it happens to be seen in the family crest of the Date House. Your suggestion that the cage could be "the box in which Tsuruchiyo brought his belongings to the women's quarter" is not correct, I'm afraid. Lord Tsuruchiyo could never fit his belongings into such a small box; as lord of the domain, his belongings actually include the mansion itself!
The long stick with artificial birds attached is a common stage prop still used in this scene today. The birds are the parent sparrows that come to feed their young. The reason that Masaoka orders her son to sing the song is that she wants to distract their lord while he waits impatiently for the rice to cook. Both boys are very hungry, but they must wait.
Hope this answers all your questions.

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