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  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1909,0618,0.53

  • Description

    Colour woodblock print. Actors Nakajima Wadaemon and Nakamura Konozo as Bodara Chozaemon and Kanagawaya Gon in play 'A Medley of Tales of Revenge'; looking at each with hand-gestures. Nishiki-e on paper with powdered dark grey mica background. Signed, sealed and marked.

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1794 (5th month)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 35 centimetres
    • Width: 24.2 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        signature
      • Inscription Position

        image, top left
      • Inscription Language

        Japanese
      • Inscription Content

        [東]洲齋 / 冩樂画
      • Inscription Transliteration

        [To]shusai / Sharaku ga
      • Inscription Translation

        Picture by Toshusai Sharaku
      • Inscription Type

        seal
      • Inscription Position

        image, top left
      • Inscription Language

        Japanese
      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Kiwame
      • Inscription Comment

        Seal of censorship.
      • Inscription Type

        mark
      • Inscription Position

        image, top left
      • Inscription Comment

        Mark of the publisher, Tsutaya Juzaburo.
  • Curator's comments

    A striking study in the contrasting characters of two minor villains: a testy customer bound for the pleasure quarters and the stolid boatman who will ferry him there. (Label copy, TTC 1995)Smith 1988

    Two minor characters from the same play as no. 141. The characters portrayed are Bodara Chozaemon and Kanagawaya Gon (a boatman). This is a fine example of Sharaku's interest, unusual among 'Ukiyoe' artists, in the more minor players. In some examples of this print the boatman (right) has red make-up across his eyes, apparently applied by hand. The signature is 'Painted by Toshusai Sharaku'.Smith et al 1990

    Wadaemon (right) plays the role of Bodara no Chozaemon, a customer visiting a house of pleasure, and Konozo (left) that of Kanagawaya Gon, the boatman who will ferry him there. Both were minor roles in the play 'Katakiuchi noriai-banashi' ('A Medley of Tales of Revenge'), performed at the Kiri theatre in the 5th month of 1794.

    The recently developed genre of the half-length portrait meant that artists could concentrate as never before on capturing the distinctive facial features of each actor. Sharaku went further than any of his contemporaries, however, in his penetrating analyses of each face, exaggerating the peculiarities to brilliantly expressive effect. Here the sharp, angular features of the testy customer contrast comically with the chubby, snub-nosed face of the stolid boatman.

    FURTHER READING
    Henderson, Harold G., and Ledoux, Louis V., 'The Surviving Works of Sharaku', New York, 1939, reprinted 1984.

    See also:
    Hillier, Jack, 'Japanese Colour Prints', London, 1966, reprinted 1975, no. 33.
    Ueno Royal Museum (Ueno no Mori Bijutsukan), 'Daiei Hakubutsukan shozo ukiyo-e meisakuten', ed. Narazaki Muneshige, Tokyo, 1985, no. 140.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Smith 1988 142 bibliographic details
    • Smith et al 1990 215 bibliographic details
    • Binyon 1916 27 (p. 155) bibliographic details
    • Ukiyo-e shuka Vol 11 6 bibliographic details
    • Hizo Ukiyo-e taikan Vol 2 BW 158 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2001, 30 Jan-8 Apr, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Arts of Japan: Recently repaired paintings, Ukiyo-e IV'
    2006 Oct 13-2007 Feb 11, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: Katakiuchi noriai banashi (A Medley of Tales of Revenge) (performed at Kiri-za theatre, Edo in the 5th month of 1794)
  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: Katakiuchi noriai banashi (A Medley of Tales of Revenge) (play)
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1909

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1909,0618,0.53

  • Additional IDs

    • B27

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Object reference number: JCF4705

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