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Kabuki Cards with Actor Portraits

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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Kabuki Cards with Actor Portraits, c. early 1880s
Ink on Paper
13 1/8 in. x 27 in. (33.34 cm x 68.58 cm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2004.1.47


Alternate Title: Omocha-e, Toy Print

Edition
Very good impression, and very good colors.

Marks
Signed yoshu Chikanobu hitsu on the upper margin.

Medium
Colored ink on paper; oban triptych.

Object Description
Chikanobu provided illustrations for a number of board games and playing cards. These 3 sheets with 27 portraits of kabuki actors were probably published between 1882 when Nakamura Sennosuke (1860-1926) took the stage name Sawamura Tosshi VII and 1886 when Suketakaya Takasuke IV (1838-1886) died. On each sheet are 3 rows of 3 actors, each trio being from a single play.

Panel One (rightmost panel) top: Kan U (Guan Yu)
Right: Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899) as Kan U
Center: Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) as Ryubi
Left: Onoe Kikugoro V (1844-1903) as Chohi

Panel One middle: Seki no to (The Barrier)
R: Sawamura Tosshi VII (1860-1926) as Yoshimine Munesada
C: Onoe Kikugoro V (1844-1903) as Sumizome
L: Ichikawa Gonjuro (1848-1904) as Otome no Kuronushi

Panel One bottom: Kanjincho (Subscription List)
R: Ichikawa Sandanji I (1842-1904) as Togachi Saemon
C: Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) as Benkei Musashi-bo
L: Suketakaya Takasuke IV (1838-1886) as Minamoto no Yoshitsune

Panel Two (center panel) top: Sukeroku yukari no Edo zakura
R: Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899) as Ikyu
C: Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) as Sukeroku
L: Suketakaya Takasuke IV (1838-1886) as Agemaki

Panel Two middle: Yoshitsune senbon zakura
R: Kataoka Gado (1851-1895) as Yoshitsune
C: Onoe Taminosuke (1866-1927) as Shizuka
L: Onoe Kikugoro V (1844-1903) as Tadanobu

Panel Two bottom: Ehon Taikoki
R: Ichikawa Kuzo III (1836-1911) as Akechi Mitsuhide
C: Bando Kakitsu I (1847-1893) as Akechi Mitsuyoshi
L: Nakamura Fukusuke III (1868-1907) as Hatsugikuiku

Panel Three (leftmost panel) top: Nagoya Sanza
R: Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) as Denkichi
C: Onoe Taminosuke (1866-1927) as Katsuragi
L: Suketakaya Takasuke IV (1838-1886) as Nagoya Sanza

Panel Three middle: Kokusenya kassen (Battles of Coxinga)
R: Nakamura Fukusuke III (1868-1907) as Kinshojo
C: Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899) as Watonai
L: Nakamura Tokizo I (1849-1919) as Kanki

Panel Three bottom: Kinkaku-ji no ba (Golden Pavilion Scene)
R: Ichikawa Kodanji V (1850-1922) as Kanonosuke Naonobu
C: Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899) as Daizen
L: Suketakaya Takasuke IV (1838-1886) as Yukihime

For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue.

Provenance
Purchased by Bruce Coats from Artelino, Germany, in October 2004, using Aoki funds.

Publisher
No publisher indicated.

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