Natori Shunsen, Nakamura Jakuemon as Oshichi

Natori Shunsen, 1886-1960

Collection of Shunsen Portraits: Nakamura Jakuemon as Oshichi
(Shunsen Nigao-e Shu: Nakamura Jakuemon)

a full-length portrait of the dancing onnagata with shadowy kurogo ('the black robed') stagehands in background; signed Shunsen with artist's seal Shunsen, with publisher's seal Watanabe ko (Watanabe Shozaburo), and oval artist's approval seal, Natori, at left, 1927

dai oban tate-e 15 7/8 by 10 7/8 in., 40.4 by 27.5 cm

The role of Oshichi is based on the true story of Yaoya Oshichi, the 16 year old daughter of a vegetable-seller who in 1681 fell in love with a young priest who she met when she went to his temple to escape a large fire in Edo. In a misguided attempt to see the priest again, Oshichi set fire to her own house, which spread and destroyed a large area of the city. She was arrested and convicted of arson; her punishment was death by fire. Her story became the basis for several kabuki plays.

Yamaguchi Keizoro, Natori Shunsen (exhibition catalogue), Kushigata, 1991, no. 42
Mueller, Laura J., Strong Women, Beautiful Men: Japanese Portrait Prints from the Toledo Museum of Art, 2006, p. 76, pl. 48



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(212) 585-0474 or email
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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