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Ganjosai Kunihiro, fl. ca. 1815-1843
Dance of Seven Changes: Bando Mitsugoro III as Sakuragidayu
(Shichi henge no uchi, youmai tsuzuki: Bando Mitsugoro, Sakuragidayu)
the actor in a female role wearing an elaborate uchikake decorated with dragons and shishi with checkerboard trim, yellow ground; signed Kunihiro ga, with publisher's seals Ten, Tenki (Tenmaya Kihei of Tenki in Osaka) and Hanmoto, Soshiya (an unidentified publisher also located in Osaka), ca. 1821
oban tate-e 15 3/8 by 10 1/4 in., 39.1 by 26 cm
This print is associated with three additional sheets depicting Bando Mitsugoro III (1775-1831) portraying seven separate roles in a hengemono (transformation piece) in which an actor accomplishes sudden changes from one role to the next using a variety of staging tricks and quick costume changes. The hayagawari (quick-change technique) allowed actors to display their thespian prowess by shifting from one role to the next, often switching genders, age and status with the blink of the eye and an impressive control of their voices, stature and facial expression. An increase in the number of prints depicting hengemono from around 1816 suggests that actors were increasingly employing the crowd-pleasing technique. In this role, Mitsugoro portrays the courtesan Sakuragidaya from the play Somemoyo Naniwa Miyage, performed at the Kado no Shibai in the 3rd month of 1821.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession nos. 11.36038, and 11.36039