The actor Ichikawa Danjuro IV in the role of an Immortal Hermit (sennin), possibly Tenjiku Tokubei in the play Tenjiku Tokubei Kokyo no Torikaji (Tenjiku Tokubei Turns the Helm Toward Home)
Performed at the Nakamura Theater in the eighth month, 1768
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Creator Name: Katsukawa, Shunsho
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: Japanese; 1726-1792 Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Active Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Katsukawa Shunsho
Title: The actor Ichikawa Danjuro IV in the role of an Immortal Hermit (sennin), possibly Tenjiku Tokubei in the play Tenjiku Tokubei Kokyo no Torikaji (Tenjiku Tokubei Turns the Helm Toward Home)
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1768
Creation End Date: 1768
Creation Date: Performed at the Nakamura Theater in the eighth month, 1768
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Hosoban; 32.8 x 15.4 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Shunsho gaARTIST'S SEAL: Hayashi in jar-shaped outline
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1925.2385
Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, The Clarence Buckingham Collection
Context: With his mane of unkempt hair, rough-hewn staff, and preternaturally long toenails, Danjuro IV certainly looks the Immortal Hermit, and scholars have not hesitated to identify the role as Ki no Natora in the opening-of-the-season (kaomise) production at the Nakamura Theater in the eleventh month of 1765. Kabuki records do indeed describe Danjuro IV making his entrance in this production dressed as a mountain hermit. Contradicting this identification, however, are illustrations in the actor critiques published the following years and a print by Buncho - all of which show Danjuro IV as Ki no Natora wearing a different wig and a costume with leaves around his shoulders and waist (see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, fig. 28.1, p.107).By the form of the signature - Shunsho ga in large, bold characters; and by the formula used for the background, in which a small, stylized white band of mist hovers at the top center of the (faded) indigo blue ground. In the eighth month of 1768 Danjuro IV appeared as Tenjiku Tokubei, a Japanese sea captain who learned supernatural skills in India, in the play Tenjiku Tokubei Kokyo no Torikaji at the Nakamura Theater. The early plot of the story is not known, but in nineteenth-century versions Tokubei was able to take on the form of a giant toad to escape his enemies. In this print Danjuro IV's appearance as an Immortal Hermit with a staff may be intended to suggest that he has come from the far-off and exotic land of India and possesses magical skills. A definite identification, however, will have to await further evidence.The colors of the present impression are severely faded: the indigo blue background and 'streaked' (sujiguma) blue face makeup are now sand-colored, and the originally purple (?) baggy trousers have faded to brown. In another impression in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, these trousers are printed in dark gray.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1925.2385
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
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