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Toyohara Kunichika, Japanese, (1835–1900)
Sawamura Tossho II (Gennosuke II) as Kan U (Noriyuki), c. 1870
Ink on Paper
14 1/8 in. x 9 11/16 in. (358.78 mm x 246.06 mm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer
Accession Number: 93.3.128

Alternate Title: Mitate Sangokushi: Sawamura Tossho

Signed: Kunichika ga. Seal: Toshidama. Censor's seal: Aratame and date (Uma-shi) on single seal.

Colored ink on paper; woodblock print.

Object Description
Meiji period color woodblock print with a portrait of an actor. In the late 19th century when China had fallen prey to European imperialism, the Japanese kabuki stage often provided parodies of Chinese history, with Japanese warriors rescuing their continental neighbors by assuming the roles of great Chinese military heroes. The History of the Three Kingdoms was one source of stories for such political commentary on contemporary events.

Here Kan U’s image appears on the outer robe of the actor.

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