The Actor Arashi Kitsusaburo II as Minamoto no Yorimasa

Artist: Gigadō Ashiyuki 戯画堂芦幸 (active ca. 1814–33)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1822, 2nd month
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 39.2 x 26.3 cm (15 7/16 x 10 3/8 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

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

During the Edo period (1615-1868) in Japan, fans and admirers collected portraits of their favorite actors in great roles. This portrait depicts kabuki actor Arashi Kitsusaburo ii in the role of the twelfth-century Japanese warrior, Minamoto no Yorimasa, who was famous for dramatically vanquishing a nue, a giant supernatural bird.

The unusual inclusion of a frame around the portrait suggests another layer of meaning beyond the memory of an admired actor's performance. The frame is similar to those that surround the painted wooden votive panels people offered to the native Shinto gods (kami) for blessings and protection.

Published References
  • At the Museums. vol. XLIX, no. 1, 2003. p. 73.
  • Andreas Marks. Japanese Woodblock Prints (1680–1938). Köln, Germany. p. 321.
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 303, p. 344.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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