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Paul Binnie, Demon Ibaraki

Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967

The Demon Ibaraki
(Ibaraki)

kappazuri (stencil print) on black washi paper, with mica on eyes and fingernails, signed in red pigment Binnie with artist's seal Binnie, hand numbered juni (12), date seal Heisei nana-nen (Heisei 7 [1995])

obaiban tate-e 25 3/8 by 18 1/4 in., 64.5 by 46.4 cm

This composition is a memorial portrait of Onoe Baiko VII (1915-1995). The beloved onnagata is depicted in the last role he ever performed, the Ibaraki demon who lives at Rashomon gate from the play Ibaraki (Ibaraki). Baiko VII was designated a Living National Treasure by the Japanese government in 1968 as a recognition of his sensitive yet masterful performances. Binnie, and coincidentally another contemporary print artist, Tsuruya Kokei (b. 1946), watched Baiko VII in this final performance.

The actor is in a Noh style kimono and rendered in copper-colored mica. The demon holds its separated hand, which was wrenched from its wrist by the warrior Watanabe no Tsuna. The demon escaped with its life, and returned to the warrior’s mansion disguised as an old woman to steal the limb back. Though the demon has retrieved her arm and should be fleeing the scene, Binnie captures the actor in a profound moment of stillness.

References:
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 70, no. 28
Encyclopedia Britannica (Britannica.com), Onoe Baiko VII: Japanese Actor, accessed 9/29/16 (re: actor)

$800