The Actor Arashi Rikan II as Sasaki Saburo Moritsuna

Artist: Shunbaisai Hokuei (active 1829-1837)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1831
Ink, color, brass and embossing on paper
H x W (overall): 37.1 x 25 cm (14 5/8 x 9 13/16 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, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kabuki, oban, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

In this stunning portrait, the Osaka actor Arashi Rikan II (1788-1837) plays the lead role of Sasaki Moritsuna in the play popularly known as Moritsuna jinya. Inspired by the Battle of Osaka Castle in the summer of 1615, in which Tokugawa Ieyasu finally destroyed the son of his late rival, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the play was set in the less politically sensitive Kamakura period (1185-1333). The emphatic graphic quality of the black costume is accentuated by the repetition of the actor's family crest in the drawn-up curtain overhead. Accents of brass, embossing, and overprinted black patterns on the costume lend luxurious detail to what might otherwise be a stark image.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 59, pp. 170-171.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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