The actor Segawa Kikunojo II, possibly as Princess Ayaori in the play Ima o Sakari Suehiro Genji (The Genji Clan Now at Its Zenith)
Performed at the Nakamura Theater from the first day of the eleventh month, 1768
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Creator Name: Ippitsusai Buncho
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: Japanese; fl. c.1755-1790 Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Active Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Ippitsusai Buncho
Title: The actor Segawa Kikunojo II, possibly as Princess Ayaori in the play Ima o Sakari Suehiro Genji (The Genji Clan Now at Its Zenith)
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1768
Creation End Date: 1768
Creation Date: Performed at the Nakamura Theater from the first day of the eleventh month, 1768
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Hosoban; 31.5 x 14.3 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Ippitsusai Buncho gaARTIST'S SEAL: Mori uji
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1970.495
Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gaylord Donnelley.
Context: Kikunojo II is here attired as a young lady of noble family, possibly as Princess Ayaori, daughter of Fujiwara no Nobuyori, in the play Ima o Sakari Suehiro Genji. Kabuki Nempyo notes that Kikunojo II was indisposed for the first four days of the run andcould not perform until the fifth day.In the absence of a firm identification, we can do little more than describe the scene portrayed. A young lady is standing in a garden, next to a verandah, partly shielding the light from a hand?lantern (teshoku) with the sleeve of her over?kimono (uchikake). Her expectant mien suggests a nighttime tryst with a lover. The kimono is decorated with a pattern of fans around the skirts, and the over?kimono with blossoms in swirling water. A bustle?like bulge occurs at the back, where the over?kimono covers the knot in the obi. At the end of the verandah is a towel on a rack and, in the garden immediately adjacent, a stone hand?basin protected by a small, roof?like wooden cover.Arthur Davison Ficke, the American poet and influential critic of ukiyo?e, writing in I9I5, detected a certain 'intangible spiritual abnormality,, in Buncho's portraits of Kikunojo II and imagined a 'curious relation between the two.' Now that we know many more prints by Buncho, it is clear that the portraits of Kikunojo II constitute a reasonable proportion of his total works, given the actor's popularity. It is true that Buncho has drawn Kikunojo's face in an idiosyncratic, not to say quirky, style-long nose, small mouth, small close?set eyes, arched eyebrows- but he used essentially the same conventions for all his portrayals of female figures. Ficke's fanciful inferences are unsupported even by his own tenuous evidence. Unquestionable, however, is Buncho's skill in capturing the curves of Kikunojo II's arched, elegant stance.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1970.495
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
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