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The Actor Ichikawa Danjuro IV [as Kagekiyo]
鳥居清重筆 「市川団十郎」 影清
Date: 1756-1757
Object Name: Woodblock print (benizuri-e)
Materials: Ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: H. 7 in x W. 16 in, H. 17.8 cm x W. 40.6 cm (hosōban)
Credit Line: Gift of the Grabhorn Ukiyo-e Collection
Department: Japanese Art
Collection: Prints And Drawings
Object Number: 2005.100.20
On Display: No

Description

Label:

A verse, inscribed above the figure, identifies him as one in a famous line of actors who took the name Ichikawa Danjūrō:

Kage kiyoki
mizu
ni gebi nashi
yamazakura
Sanjō

In shade pure water,
without vulgarity,
mountain cherry blossoms
Three Measures

The term “Three Measures” at the end of the inscription refers to the crest of three nested measuring boxes used by actors of the Danjūrō line, which is shown on the shoulders of the actor’s robe in this print. The poem puns on the name Kagekiyo (literally, “shade pure”), a famous Taira clan warrior from The Tale of the Heike. In the print the actor’s face is painted in the distinctive striated makeup typical of the Kabuki role of Kagekiyo, for which the actor Ichikawa Danjūrō IV was particularly famed. We know that Danjūrō IV appeared as Kagekiyo in a play entitled Nippon zutsumi tori no ne Soga, staged in the first month of 1757; this print may be a record of that performance. His robes cover what seems to be a chain mail undergarment with the character for “west” on the chest, and he wears armored gauntlets and greaves, or shin guards. Raising the cordwrapped scabbard of his sword into the air, he strikes a stylized pose (mie) that marks a dramatic highpoint in the play.

Its resemblance to other actor prints made by Kiyoshige in 1756 and 1757 (for example, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 21.5671 and 21.5670) suggests that this one may have been part of a triptych.


More Information

Signature/Seal: Signature: 鳥居清重 Torii Kiyoshige

Artist’s seal: 清重 Kiyoshige

Marks: Publisher’s mark: 山 本版 Yamamoto han
Exhibition History: “The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection”, Asian Art Museum, 2/20/15-5/10/15
Label:

A verse, inscribed above the figure, identifies him as one in a famous line of actors who took the name Ichikawa Danjūrō:

Kage kiyoki
mizu
ni gebi nashi
yamazakura
Sanjō

In shade pure water,
without vulgarity,
mountain cherry blossoms
Three Measures

The term “Three Measures” at the end of the inscription refers to the crest of three nested measuring boxes used by actors of the Danjūrō line, which is shown on the shoulders of the actor’s robe in this print. The poem puns on the name Kagekiyo (literally, “shade pure”), a famous Taira clan warrior from The Tale of the Heike. In the print the actor’s face is painted in the distinctive striated makeup typical of the Kabuki role of Kagekiyo, for which the actor Ichikawa Danjūrō IV was particularly famed. We know that Danjūrō IV appeared as Kagekiyo in a play entitled Nippon zutsumi tori no ne Soga, staged in the first month of 1757; this print may be a record of that performance. His robes cover what seems to be a chain mail undergarment with the character for “west” on the chest, and he wears armored gauntlets and greaves, or shin guards. Raising the cordwrapped scabbard of his sword into the air, he strikes a stylized pose (mie) that marks a dramatic highpoint in the play.

Its resemblance to other actor prints made by Kiyoshige in 1756 and 1757 (for example, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 21.5671 and 21.5670) suggests that this one may have been part of a triptych.


Signature/Seal: Signature: 鳥居清重 Torii Kiyoshige

Artist’s seal: 清重 Kiyoshige

Marks: Publisher’s mark: 山 本版 Yamamoto han
Exhibition History: “The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection”, Asian Art Museum, 2/20/15-5/10/15