The Actor Ichikawa Danjuro VIII as Matsuwakamaru

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1798-1861)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1847
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 22.4 x 28.9 cm (8 13/16 x 11 3/8 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), fan, Japan, kabuki, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

Within the format of a circular fan, Ichikawa Danjvro VIII appears against a naturalistic landscape background. Due to the ongoing ban on actor prints imposed in 1842, the actor's name is omitted, but his role is identified as Matsuwakamaru. The straw raincoat over his colorful kimono frames the handsome features of this actor, who was sensationally popular during his brief lifetime. Kuniyoshi's portrait captures the actor at the peak of his career, which began with his debut onstage when he was an infant and ascended swiftly; he assumed the Danjuro name in 1832, when he was still a boy. His popularity was so great that when he played in Sukeroku, the water from the barrel in which he immersed himself to hide from pursuers was sold to his fans.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 40, pp. 134-135.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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