Night Snow at Mimeguri
(Mimeguri no Yoyuki)
each sheet signed Gototei Kunisada ga, with publisher's seal of Moriya Jihei, censor's seal kiwame (approved) seal, ca. 1825
oban tate-e triptych 14 3/8 by 30 1/4 in., 36.5 by 76.8 cm
This print depicts a group of actors and courtesans boarding ferries at the Mimeguri Jinja shrine; its stone torii gate is visible just below the snow-covered bank of the Sumida River. The Mimeguri Jinja, located in Mukojima, was a landmark along the ferry ride from central Edo to the pleasure quarters of Yoshiwara. Almost always depicted in the winter, the central deities at the temple are dedicated to Ebisu, the god of fisherman, commerce and good fortune; and Daikoku, god of wealth and farmers. The shrine was frequented by the denizens of the entertainment districts, where they also would pay their respects at a grave-mound of a murdered slave boy; the loss of a child was considered a particularly female tragedy.
There are five identifiable kabuki luminaries in this party: at the far left Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859) stands holding a folded black umbrella. Although he wears a black hood over his head and a light blue scarf covering most of his face, the large eyes of Danjuro VII are unmistakable. He is in the company of four of the most popular onnagata (actors specializing in female roles) of the day. He stands beside the young Iwai Shijaku I (Hanshiro VII, 1804-1845, the second son of Hanshiro V) who wears a furisode ('swinging sleeves') kimono that is decorated with irises. In the center panel, the figure wearing a black furisode kimono is Iwai Kumesaburo II (1799-1836); the purple cloth (murasaki-boshi) covering his shaved pate is held in place with a hairpin with Kumesaburo's crest. In the right panel, Segawa Kikunojo V (1802-1832) stands while the beautiful Iwai Hanshiro V (1776-1847, the father of Shijaku I and considered one of the best onnagata in all of the history of kabuki) is seated in the covered section of the boat.
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site last updated
May 5, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
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