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Bunraku Puppet

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Bunraku Puppet
  • Description

    Colour woodblock print. Bunraku puppet of young woman in kimono with traditional hairstyle, against a blank background. 108/150. Signed, sealed and inscribed.

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1950s
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 46.2 centimetres
    • Width: 31.6 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Content

        Jun Sekino
      • Inscription Comment

        in pencil
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Comment

        seal of Vergez Collection
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Comment

        in pencil
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

  • Curator's comments

    Smith 1994
    The date is supplied by the artist's widow. Among Sekino's many subjects for prints the Bunraku puppet theatre, which dates from the seventeenth century, was a favourite. In this work he shows the puppet standing without the two or three black-robed manipulators present in actual performance. So great is the sense of being alive which the operators are able to put into their puppets that this semi-lifeless pose must slightly shock anyone who has seen the Bunraku in action. Sekino also provides a virtually blank background which disguises the fact that puppets are less than one metre high and gives the illusion of a full-sized human being. As with the masks of the No drama, Bunraku puppet heads are types rather than individual characters; however, this example represents Osome, tragic heroine of the play 'The Love Suicide at Amijima' by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1724).


  • Bibliography

    • Smith 1994 98 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    supplied by the artist's widow

  • Department


  • Registration number


Woodblock print. Bunraku puppet. Annotations and seals.


Woodblock print. Bunraku puppet. Annotations and seals.

reproduced by permission of the artist's estate. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description



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Object reference number: JCF12446

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