The Actor Ichikawa Ebizo as Kudo Suketsune

Artist: Katsukawa Shun'ei 勝川春英 (1762-1819)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1793
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 33.7 x 14.8 cm (13 1/4 x 5 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, bow, Edo period (1615 - 1868), hosoban, Japan, kabuki, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

The actor Ichikawa Ebizo (1741-1806) is portrayed as Kudo Suketsune, the villain of the many kabuki plays that relate the story of the Soga brothers' vendetta against their uncle, Kudo, who was responsible for the death of their father. Here the warrior wears a costume richly ornamented with large lobsters (ebi), which allude to the actor's name, Ebizo. He strikes a powerful pose that is made more emphatic by the tall bow in his hands. This print by Shun'ei captures faithfully the individual features of the actor who later became Ichikawa Danjuro V. An unusual feature of the background of the stage set is the grove of bamboo that is rendered in brushstrokes reminiscent of an ink painting. The beauty of color printing can be appreciated in this print, in which the delicate colors are well preserved.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 21, pp. 94-95.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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