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Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
Large-head Kabuki Portraits: Ichikawa Ennosuke as Nikki Danjo
(Kabuki okubi-e: Nikki Danjo)
with mica on the dark purple background; signed at lower left, Binnie, with artist's seal Bin-ni, numbered at upper right, 32/100, the print title below, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Nikki Danjo, with date seal Heisei hachi-nen (Heisei 8 ), signed in pencil on the bottom margin, Paul Binnie, ca. April - May 1996
dai oban tate-e 16 1/8 by 11 1/2 in., 41 by 29.2 cm
The actor Ichikawa Ennosuke III (b. 1939) is in the role of Nikki Danjo, a wicked magician who transforms into a rat and receives the bright red mark on his head when struck by a fan, from the play Date no Juyaku (Ten Date Roles), a revival of the classic story of palace intrigue in which Nikki Danjo and others attempt to kill the crown prince Tsuruchiyo of the Date household. The original kabuki drama, Meiboku Sendai Hagi (The Precious Incense and Autumn Flowers of Sendai), has over two centuries been adapted and staged under different names. The adaptation in which Ennosuke III is featured in this composition had the actor play ten roles in a single performance.
The actor is famous for revivals of older plays and particularly fond of keren (stage tricks), and therefore relished a revival production which demanded so many hayagawari (quick costume changes). Ennosuke III even updated Danjo's exit, having the character leave the stage by "flying," through the utilization of his famous chunori technique, from the stage up to the balcony seats. Chunori, a hidden wire stage trick, was especially popular in the Edo period and was returned to contemporary theater by Ennosuke III to bring joy and excitement back to kabuki.
James R. Brandon and Samuel L. Leiter, Kabuki Plays On Stage: Villainy and Vengeance, 1773-1799, 2002, pp. 50-52
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 79, no. 37