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Toyohara Kunichika, One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjuro IX

Toyohara Kunichika, 1835-1900

One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjuro IX: The Kabuki 18, Uwanari
(Ichikawa Danjuro engei hyakuban: Juhachiban, Uwanari)

signed Kunichika hitsu with artist's seal Toshidama, publisher's seal of Fukuda Kumajiro, carver's seal Nisei Hori Ei (Nisei Watanabe Hori Ei ryu), 1898, 9th month

oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.8 by 24 cm

The actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) is in the role of the ghost of Kasuga, a vengeful ex-wife, in the play Uwanari (The ambush of the second wife). The play centers on the theme of jealousy, as an estranged and now departed first wife tries to exact revenge on an adulterous former husband. She does so by entering the body of her daughter, to punish both him and his new partner. Danjuro wears a hannya mask, typical kabuki dress to indicate the spirit of a revengeful woman. The hannya archetype has its origins in the more reserved Noh theater.

References:
Amy Reigle Newland, Time present and time past, Images of a forgotten master: Toyohara Kunichika 1835-1900, 1999, p. 130, cat. 106
Honolulu Museum of Art (honolulumuseum.org), object no. 26527

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