The actor Nakamura Noshio I as the Third Princess (Nyosan no Miya) in the play Fuki Kaere Tsuki mo Yoshiwara (Rethatched Roof: The Moon also Shines Over the Yoshi?wara Pleasure District)
Performed at the Morita Theater from the first day of the eleventh month, 1771
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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 Nakamura Noshio I as the Third Princess (Nyosan no Miya) in the play Fuki Kaere Tsuki mo Yoshiwara (Rethatched Roof: The Moon also Shines Over the Yoshi?wara Pleasure District)
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1771
Creation End Date: 1771
Creation Date: Performed at the Morita Theater from the first day of the eleventh month, 1771
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Hosoban; 32.5 x 15.0 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Ippitsusai Buncho gaARTIST'S SEAL: Mori uji
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1929.735
Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, The Clarence Buckingham Collection
Context: A pivotal moment in Tale of Genji (Lady Murasaki's famous novel written about A.D. 1000) occurs when the young courtier Kashiwagi accidentally glimpses the Third Princess (Nyosan no Miya), Prince Genji's wife, and instantly falls passionately in love with her. The scene occurs in chapter 34, 'New Herbs: Part One' (Wakana no Jo), at Prince Genji's mansion. Young courtiers, led by Kashiwagi and Yugiris are playing a kind of football (kemari) under blossoming cherry trees, while Genji watches from the verandah. Suddenly there is a commotion: a pet cat on a lead, chased by a larger cat, runs out onto the verandah, with ladies-in-waiting in pursuit. The cat's lead catches in one of the hanging blinds, pulling the blind aside just long enough for Kashiwagi to catch sight of the Third Princess standing inside the room. For such a high-ranking woman to allow herself to be seen by a man was a grave lapse of propriety, made even worse by the fact that she was standing rather than seated. Lady Murasaki describes how Kashiwagi sees her:'A lady in informal dress stood just inside the curtains beyond the second pillar to the west. Her robe seemed to be of red lined with lavender, and at the sleeves and throat the colors were as bright and varied as a book of paper samples. Her cloak was of white figured satin lined with red. Her hair fell as cleanly as sheaves of thread and fanned out towards the neatly trimmed edges some ten inches beyond her feet. In the rich billowing of her skirts the lady scarcely seemed present at all. The white profile framed by masses of black hair was pretty and elegant - though unfortunately the room was dark and he could not see her as well in the evening light as he would have wished. The women had been too delighted with the game, young gentlemen heedless of how they scattered the blossoms, to worry about blinds and concealment. The lady turned to look at the cat, which was mewing piteously, and in her face and figure was an abundance of quiet, unpretending young charm.'Doubtless because the ensuing love affair was both illicit and tragic, and because the scene afforded artists the chance to depict a beautiful woman with a charming pet, the Third Princess and her cat became a popular subject for mitate-e (allusive or travestied versions, by ukiyo-e artists, of serious or classical painting subjects).As Buncho's print illustrates, the story was also adapted for the Kabuki stage in 1771, with Nakamura Noshio I as the Third Princess and Bando Mitsugoro I as Kashiwagi no Emon. A page from that production's illustrated program (ehon banzuke) shows the Third Princess almost at the verandah and only slightly concealed behind a blind, with her kitten on the end of its leash (see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, fig. 18. 1, p.84). The latter-day Third Princess depicted here, totally unencumbered by Heian courtly decorum, affects no concealment whatever but stands right out on the verandah, well in front of the blinds: no Kabuki actor could ever resist the limelight.This performance marked Ichikawa Danjuro V's first appearance after his promotion to head of the acting troupe (za-gashira).
AMICA ID: AIC_.1929.735
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
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