Toyokuni III Utagawa, Kabuki Actor, Danshichi Kurobei, Tattoo

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Artist: Toyokuni III Utagawa (1786-1865)
Title: Actor Nakamura Fukusuke as Danshichi Kurobei
Series: Mirrors for Collage Pictures in the Modern Styles
Publisher: Fujiokaya Keijiro
Date: 1859
Condition report: Slightly trimmed, light soiling, restored binding holes, minor wormhole.
Size: 36.5x25.2 cm

'Mirrors for Collage Pictures in the Modern Styles' is a series by Toyokuni III featuring actors viewed as a reflection from a black and gold framed bronze mirror accompanied by a poem in their own hand. The background has a printed pattern imitating decorative, gold-flecked paper.

 

The scene depicted here is one of kabuki's most famous episodes, the Nagamachi noura no ba (Back Street Scene in Nagamachi). This print shows a closeup of Danshichi's grimacing face and details of his dragon tattoo as he pours a bucket of water from a well to wash away the blood and dirt after murdering his father-in-law in a fight. In stage performances during Japan's hot summers, the use of real mud and real water would have given the audience a pleasant feeling of coolness.

More Information
Artist Name Toyokuni III Utagawa (Kunisada I)
Title Actor Nakamura Fukusuke as Danshichi Kurobei
Subject Samurai & Male, Kabuki
Condition Report Slightly trimmed, light soiling, restored binding holes, minor wormhole.
Dimensions 36.5x25.2 cm
Publisher Fujioka-ya Keijiro