Actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII in a “Shibaraku” Role

Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I 歌川豊国 (1769-1825)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, early 1810s
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 35.6 x 24.2 cm (14 x 9 1/2 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

actor, Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kabuki, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

No image is more instantly recognizable than that of an actor of the Ichikawa Danjuro lineage playing the "Shibaraku" scene in which he strides onto the stage, shouting "Shibaraku!" (Wait a moment!). Danjuro VII (1791-1859) is shown here in a "Shibaraku" performance, a specialty of his family since its invention by the great founder of the line, Danjuro I (1660- 1704). Wearing a distinctive persimmon red costume with oversized, stiff sleeves emblazoned with the Ichikawa family crest, the actor's fierce features are emphatically accentuated by kumadori, stage makeup that follows the contours of the face. With his gigantic sword, the hero proceeds to lop off the heads of his enemies in a performance that exemplifies the bravura aragoto style associated with the Ichikawa family and Edo kabuki. Danjuro VII was a great actor who lived in fame and luxury, which led to a seven-year exile from Edo in 1842. He returned to Edo after living and acting in the Kamigata (Kyoto-Osaka) theaters. Danjuro VII compiled The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki juhachiban), a collection of the finest plays performed by the Ichikawa Danjuro line. Other acting families followed suit, identifying their most famous plays as a central repertoire of definitive plays and roles.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 33, pp. 118-119.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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