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Eighteen Kabuki Plays: Guan Yu

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Torii Kiyotada VII, VII, Japanese, (active 1875–1941)
Eighteen Kabuki Plays: Guan Yu, 1896
Ink on paper
14.3 x 10 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: 2009.1.90

Alternate Title: Kabuki juhachiban : Kan'u

“Eighteen Kabuki Plays : Guan Yu / Kabuki juhachiban : Kan’u”
by Torii Kiyosada (1844-1901) & Kiyotada VII (active 1875-1941) 1896

In a complex storyline written in 1735 for Danjuro II, the 12th c. warrior Hatakeyama Shigetada is transformed into the 3rd c. Chinese military hero Guan Yu, who has come to admonish the Japanese for their endless warring. He rescues the blind old samurai Kagekiyo, and then overnight rebuilds the Kanteibyo, an ancient Chinese shrine in Japan dedicated to Guan Yu. In this print, Danjuro IX wears a Chinese style costume and has just dismounted from his white horse.

signed: "Tadakiyo"
seal: artist's seal

Object Description
Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) in the role of Emperor Kan'u in "Kan'u," one of the famous eighteen kabuki plays (Kabuki Juhachiban) by the Ichikawa family.

Parts of the robe and the surrounding background are embossed.

"Kiyotada depicts the Chinese warrior Kan’u in one of the 18 famous plays performed by the Ichikawa acting family. Here Ichikawa Danjuro IX is pictured in Chinese costume because his character is the Japanese warrior Shigetada disguised as the revered Chinese general Kan’u in order to uncover the schemes of his enemies."
(DS, student in 2010 seminar ARHI154 Japanese Prints)

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