The Actor Nakamura Utaemon III as Ichikawa Goemon Disguised as the Farmer Gosaku

Artist: Shunkōsai Hokushū 春好斎 北洲 (fl. ca. 1810-1832)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1830
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 38.2 x 25.5 cm (15 1/16 x 10 1/16 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), Japan, kabuki, portrait, ronin, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

Kabuki actors in Osaka fostered a realistic style of performance that was distinct from that of Edo, and the prints published in Osaka also developed a unique style. A versatile and talented star of the Osaka theater, Nakamura Utaemon III plays the role of Ishikawa Goemon, a ronin (masterless samurai) bandit and rebel whose exploits were the subject of many kabuki dramas. In the premier performance of Keisei setsugekka, a play that Utaemon wrote under his pen name, he wears the disguise of a farmer and calls upon the arts employed by ninja (secret agents) to elude the warriors who pursue him. The warriors are visible behind the fine, black gauze stage curtain that represents smoke in this outstanding print by Hokushu, whose collaboration with the master block engraver, Kasuke, produced some of the finest Osaka prints.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 57, pp. 166-267.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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