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Scholten Japanese Art Gallery
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Paul Binnie, Onoe Baiko

Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967

Onoe Baiko VII as the Snake Spirit in Musume Dojoji

fan print; the print title written in pencil at lower left, signed in sumi kanji, Bin-ni with red artist's seal Bin-ni within the fan, red artist's seal Bin-ni and date seal Heisei rokunen (Heisei 6 [1994]) at upper right, and pencil-numbered and -signed at lower right 22/35, Paul Binnie

aiban uchiwa-e 9 1/4 by 12 1/4 in., 23.5 by 31 cm

The actor Onoe Baiko VII (1915-1995) is in the role of the snake spirit from the play Musume Dojoji (The Maiden at the Dojo Temple). The play begins with the installation of a new bell at Dojo Temple. It would be the first bell in the temple in many years, and for that reason was causing great anxiety amongst the monks. The last bell had been destroyed by the beauty Kiyohime, who was the spurned lover of one of the Dojo priests. She had chased the priest back to the temple, where he hid beneath the bell. In her fury, she turned into a massive snake and coiled around the bell. The heat of her passion melted the brass and killed her lover. Legend has it that she drowned, however the monks were afraid that a new bell may bring her spirit back. Their fears were justified, as the very day the new bell was being installed Kiyohime's snake spirit returned, disguised as the dancer Hanako. She danced for the monks before dramatically revealing her true form and jumping atop the bell, preparing to raise it to heaven.

References:
Arendie and Henk Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage, 2004, pp. 211-215 (re: play)
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 67, no. 25

$350