Re: Help in identifying Kunisada print


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Posted by Paul Griffith (86.142.6.31) on October 09, 2019 at 16:27:08:

In Reply to: Help in identifying Kunisada print posted by Donna Levinsohn on September 24, 2019 at 02:00:24:

The title in the red cartouche reads: "Shosagoto no uchi, Nakamura Utaemon". "Shosagoto" means 'dance'. Utaemon IV only succeeded to that name in the 1st month of 1836 at the Kado Theatre in Osaka. He did not appear in Edo (where this print was published) until 1838. This design shows Utaemon in the dance 'Kyoran Hana no Yuki' ('A madman among a snowfall of blossoms', one of three sections in the work 'Sanpukutsui Uta no Sugata-e', performed at the Nakamura-za in the 3rd month of 1838. The word 'kyoran' refers to someone who has gone mad, which fits with this design because the actor is wearing the purple headband called 'yamai hachimaki' indicating some kind of mental or physical illness. Such 'kyoran' dances are often found as part of longer dance pieces known as 'hengemono' that are made up of multiple short sections all performed in quick succession by the same actor.


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