Paul Binnie, Kunisada's Danjuro, Tattoo Design

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Original Japanese woodblock print. 

Artist: Paul Binnie (1967 – )
Title: Kunisada’s Danjuro
Series: Edo Zumi Hyaku Shoku (A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo)
Date: 2006
Edition: 39/100
Published: by the artist
Dimensions: 42.2 × 31.5 cm

Condition report: Perfect condition.


The design of this print shows one of the favourite actors of the early 19th century Kabuki theatre, Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859), as portrayed by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1854), an artist who was particularily interested in this star actor. He was a member of Danjuro’s fan club, often used him as a subject for surimono (privately published prints) and followed the actor’s career faithfully, representing him innumerable times until his death.
In the tattoo, Danjuro is depicted in the first performance of a play called Kakitsubata Iromoedozome in the fifth month of 1815, while the cartouche image shows him in the distinctive red kumadori make-up of the character Kamakura no Gongoro in one of his signature pieces, Shibaraku.
Taking the dramatic pose with the sword in the print as my starting point, the model is posed to reflect the motion of striking with his short sword, which allowed the tip of the sword to break out of the frame and into the margin, and it has been heightened with pale blue mica to catch the light.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Paul Binnie
Title Kunisada’s Danjuro
Subject Samurai & Male, Contemporary, Tattoo
Dimensions 42.2 × 31.5 cm
Series A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo