The Actor Nakamura Utaemon IV (Changing from Shikan) as Kawata Shozaemon

Artist: Shunbaisai Hokuei (active 1829-1837)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1836
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 37.9 x 25.9 cm (14 15/16 x 10 3/16 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, new year, oban, palanquin, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

Nakamura Utaemon IV (1796?-1852) lifts a stage prop in the form of a palanquin in one of the several roles he played in a New Year performance in 1836 at Osaka's Kado Theater. The performance celebrated his name change to Utaemon upon his adoptive father, Utaemon III's retirement from the name. Performance of multiple roles in the same play, and sometimes in the same scene, tested the actor's skills in portraying a variety of characters from different social classes. Here the actor demonstrates the great physical strength of his character by lifting an ornately decorated palanquin, a vehicle usually carried by two or more attendants in which members of warrior families traveled during the Edo period.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 65, pp. 182-183.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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