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Natori Shunsen, Actor Ichikawa Sansho as Umeomaru

Compare with 1852 Kunisada print of an actor in the same role. view print

Natori Shunsen, 1886-1960

New Versions of Figures on the Stage: Actor Ichikawa Sansho V as Umeomaru
(Shinpan butai no sugata-e: Ichikawa Sansho V, Umeomaru)

signed Shunsen sha with artist's seal Shunsen publisher's seal Watanabe, dated Showa nijuhachinen nigatsu saku (made in Showa 28 [1953] February)

dai oban tate-e 16 by 10 7/8 in., 40.7 by 27.6 cm

The actor Ichikawa Sansho V (1882-1956) is in the role of Umeomaru from the play Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami (Sugawara's Secrets of Calligraphy). He is one of the play's triplets, each named for a different tree. Umeomaru's name is a homonym of ume, meaning plum. He is a retainer of the statesman Sugawara until he turns on his lord after Sugawara is accused of treason. He goes to confront his former master on Mt. Tempei. In this famous scene, Sugawara turns into a thunder god and assaults Umeomaru and his company with incendiary plum leaves before stealing away into the night.

Yamaguchi Keizoro, Shunsen Natori Exhibition Catalogue, Kushigata, 1991, no. 78
Kozo Yamada, Shunsen Natori: Collection of the Kushigata Shunsen Museum of Art, 2002, p. 52, cat. no. 74