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Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
A Great Mirror of the Actors of the Heisei Period: Bando Tamasaburo as the Spirit of the Heron
(Heisei yakusha o-kagami: Tamasaburo - Sagi musume)
the onnagata (actor in a female role) wearing a white robe decorated with a dark grey mica pattern of feathers against a deep blue bokashi ground; the series and print title cartouches at upper left, with hand numbered limited edition cartouche, nijukyu/hyaku (39/100), signed below in kanji, Bin-ni, with red artist's seal Binnie, and date seal Heisei kyu-nen (Heisei 9 ), numbered and signed in pencil on the bottom margin, 39/100 Paul Binnie
dai oban tate-e 16 7/8 by 11 7/8 in., 42.9 by 30.2 cm
The actor Bando Tamasaburo V (b. 1950) is in the poignant role of the Spirit of the Heron from the dance Sagi Musume (The Heron Maiden). Tamasaburo V is perhaps the most popular contemporary onnagata, and has received both the Living National Treasure award from Japan and the Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature award from France.
Sagi Musume is set beside a frozen pond in the middle of winter as confetti, simulating falling snow and sensitively depicted in the composition in white, grey, and purple, falls onto the stage. The Heron Spirit performs a number of transformations over the course of the dance. In the first section the spirit conjures a young maiden, dressed in a red kimono whose dance reflects the joy of love. However, the transformations are successively more bleak, culminating in the final change, which is depicted in this composition. The maiden lies upon the stage floor, suffering in hell for the frivolity of her youth. She is dressed in white and is depicted with deep sadness upon her face.
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 90, no. 49