Torii Kotondo, shibaraku

Torii Kotondo (1900-1976) kakemono


hanging scroll, ink and color on paper; signed Kiyotada with seal Ryoyoi, tomobako titled on the lid, Shibaraku and signed Kiyotada hitsu with artist's seal Torii, ca. post-1941

painting 39 1/2 by 15 in, 100.3 by 38.1 cm
overall 63 by 22 in, 160 by 56 cm

This painting is an archetypical representation of a Danjuro actor in the Shibaraku role. Shibaraku is arguably the most famous and iconographic scenes in all kabuki with flashy and instantly recognizable costume and make-up that has become a visible shorthand for the scene, the role, the Ichikawa Danjuro line of actors, and to some extent, kabuki itself. It's not actually a play, but a shorter drama piece that is performed as an interlude between full-length plays. The title literally translates to 'wait a moment!' and marks both the climactic moment of the scene and its origin in 1697 during performance at the Nakamura Theater by first Ichikawa Danjuro (1660-1704) who while in the role of the hero Gongoro shouted Shibaraku! from the wings when actors on stage failed to give him his cue. Over the years it was incorporated and adapted in different ways with variations on the role and the plot, but in the 19th century Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859) standardized it as part of his Juhachiban (Eighteen Great Plays), and then later his son Danjuro IX (1838-1903) further developed it into the version that is still performed today.


Torii Kotondo

Torii Kotondo

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site last updated
October 21, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475