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Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
Large-head Kabuki Portraits: Ichikawa Danjuro XII (1946-2013) in Shibaraku
(Kabuki okubi-e: Danjuro no Shibaraku)
finely printed with contrasting burnishing on parts of the actor's wig and gofun around the eyes; signed at upper right corner, Binnie, followed by artist's red kanji seal, Bin-ni; with date seal on upper right margin, Heisei hachi nen (Heisei 8 [1996), numbered in pencil below 44/100, the title on the lower right margin, Ichikawa Danjuro, Shibaraku, and signed in pencil on the bottom margin, Paul Binnie, ca. February - March 1996
oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 12 5/8 in., 44.5 by 32 cm
The Shibaraku ('wait a moment') role, long the mainstay of the Danjuro line of actors, is arguably the most famous of all kabuki roles, not only for its popularity amongst the fans (representing a moment of high tension within a play), but also because the costume and make-up translate so well graphicially into two-dimensional compositions. But perhaps what is most striking about this interpretation is that in addition to utilizing the bold colors and lines of the costume to create a strong composition, Binnie also manages to capture a sensitive portrait of the actor himself.
Although there is no series title on the print, Binnie includes this work as part of his Kabuki-e Okubi-e (Large-head Portraits of Kabuki) series, and this design is the first color woodblock print that he produced after leaving the studio of his teacher, the master printer Seki Kenji, who had been the head printer for Doi Publishing.
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 76, no. 34