The Actor Nakamura Tomijuro II as the Courtesan Kikukawa

Artist: Shunbaisai Hokuei (active 1829-1837)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1833
Ink, color, silver mica and embossing on paper
H x W (overall): 38.3 x 25.6 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, courtesan, Edo period (1615 - 1868), fox, haiku, Japan, kabuki, oban, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

The renowned onnagata Nakamura Tomijuro II (Matsue III, 1786-1855) is depicted against a wood-grain background as if the portrait were painted on a votive panel of the type offered with prayers to Shinto shrines. Tomijuro wears flamboyant robes, which he turns to display in their full splendor. The haiku (hokku) signed with the actor's poetry name, Keishi, offers gratitude to the gods for inheriting the name Tomijuro, a name previously used by a great Osaka-born onnagata who had died the year his successor was born. The poem reads:

 Bestowed a famous name,
 I proceed along the path of acting
 in this glorious spring season.

Translation of poem by John T. Carpenter

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 64, pp. 180-181.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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