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Eighteen Kabuki Plays: Narukami

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Torii Kiyotada VII, VII, Japanese, (active 1875–1941)
Eighteen Kabuki Plays: Narukami, 1915-1916
Ink on Paper
25.4 cm x 19.5 cm (10 in. x 7 11/16 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: 2001.2.52


Marks
Signed: 'Kiyotada' with red 'Torii' seal.

Medium
Colored ink woodblock on off-white paper. Chuban tate-e.

Object Description
Showa period color woodblock print with an image of the actor Ichikawa Danjuro from the play "Narukami," in robes decorated with flames, looking angrily to his right.

In the play entitled Narukami, a Buddist monk named Narukami is furious at the emperor, captures the rain-causing dragon, and causes a terrible drought. The frightened emperor sends a beautiful princess, Kumo no Taema, to seduce Narukami. Her mission is a success, and she frees the dragon before escaping herself. When Narukami wakes up he finds the princess gone and rain falling. He becomes furious and vows vengeance.

This print, along with 2001.2.25, show Narukami in his full fury, shortly after awakening. His violent wrath is vividly depicted as he bursts out of the print. Tadamasa based his large print on Kiyotada’s small 1938 print, which in turn copies an early 17th century image of Ichikawa Danjuro playing Narukami.

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