The Actors Arashi Kitsuburu II as Kumasaka Chohan and Sawamura Kunitaro as Ushiwakamaru

Artist: Gigadō Ashiyuki 戯画堂芦幸 (active ca. 1814–33)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1827
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 25.6 x 38 cm (10 1/16 x 14 15/16 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, battle, Edo period (1615 - 1868), haiku, Japan, kabuki, oban, poems, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

In this Osaka print, a fight scene between Ushiwakamaru (the young warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune, 1159-1189) and Kumasaka Chohan shows the youth leaping high in the air and aiming his sword. The print composition highlights the grace of the actors and the effort toward visual effect that characterizes fight scenes. Between the actors is a poem (a common feature of Osaka prints) in which Ushiwakamaru is compared to a spike of frost that can push through the ground in freezing weather:

A spike of frost
reveals its strength
as it lunges forward.

Translation of poem by John T. Carpenter

Published References
  • At the Museums. vol. XLIX, no. 1, 2003. p. 70.
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 55, pp. 162-163.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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