Kunichika

Toyohara Kunichika

1835-1900

Newly Publlished Wigs to Put On: Ichikawa Danjuro IX and Nakamura Fukusuke IV
(Shinpan katsura-tsuke: Ichikawa Danjuro, Nakamura Fukusuke)

omocha-e (toy print), signed in the red cartouche to the left of Danjuro's shoulder, Kunichika, dated on the left margin Meiji sanjunen yongatsu (Meiji 30 [1897], April) with publisher name, Matsuno Yonejiro, 1897

oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 9 3/4 in., 37.1 by 24.8 cm

Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903), on the right, was one of the most important kabuki actors of the Meiji Period (1868-1912) who is credited, in part, with revitalizing and redefining the theater for the modern era. He is accompanied here by Nakamura Fukusuke IV (Nakamura Utaemon V, 1865-1940), whose adoptive father was Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899), an important contemporary of Danjuro IX. Fukusuke IV expanded his range beyond the traditional masculine roles favored by the Nakamura line and became regarded as one of the best onnagata (actor specializing in female roles) of the early 20th century. The pairing of the elder Danjuro with the younger Fukusuke represents and interesting transition from Danjuro, here late in his career, to Fukusuke, one of the actors who will carry kabuki forward into the 20th century.

This composition is an omocha-e (toy print), the various wigs could be cut out and placed on the actors' unadorned heads. Designed to be used and typically destroyed in the process of playing with them, omocha-e, for board games like sugoroku or paper cut-outs like this example, are quite scarce. (inv. no. 10-5336)

price: Sold

kikumon

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