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Eighteen Kabuki Plays: Jayanagi

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Torii Kiyotada VII, VII, Japanese, (active 1875–1941)
Torii Kiyosada, Japanese, (1844–1901)
Eighteen Kabuki Plays: Jayanagi, 1896
Ink on Paper
36.3 cm x 24.1 cm (14 5/16 in. x 9 1/2 in.)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2001.2.15

Alternate Title: Kabuki Juhachiban: Jayanagi

“Eighteen Kabuki Plays : Snake Willow/ Kabuki juhachiban : Jayanagi”
by Torii Kiyosada (1844-1901) & Kiyotada VII (active 1875-1941) 1896

Jayanagi was first staged in 1763 and later performed regularly by Ichikawa Danjuro IV (1754-1770), but the original text has been lost. In one 19th c. restaging, the beautiful woman Kiyohime pines for a Buddhist monk and when she dies, her jealous spirit possesses him. The monk then sadly speaks of the terrible regret of having unrequited love.

In another late 19th c. restaging, the famous priest Kukai (shown above) encountered a snake that was the manifestation of the emotions of jealousy of women whose husbands had abandoned them to become monks. Kukai turned the snake into a willow tree, which could then appear as the enraged woman Suhama Sozu (played here by Ichikawa Danjuro IX).

Signed: "Torii Kiyosada" w/ red square "Kiyosada" seal and "Tadakiyo" [Torii Kiyotada VII] w/ red circle seal.

Color woodblock print; ink on paper; oban tat-e.

Object Description
In Jayanagi, the beautiful woman Kiyohime pines for a priest and upon dying, her jealous spirit possesses him. The Buddhist monk then sadly speaks of the terrible regret of having unrequited love.

Although first written in 1763 by Danjuro IV, no text or other details of the original play have survived. In 1945 Danjuro X used the title for a new production exploring the emotions of jealousy and regret.

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