Katsukawa Shunsho / The actor Nakamura Sukegoro II in the role of a chivalrous commoner (otokodate) / 1768/70Katsukawa Shunsho
The actor Nakamura Sukegoro II in the role of a chivalrous commoner (otokodate)

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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 Nakamura Sukegoro II in the role of a chivalrous commoner (otokodate)
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1768
Creation End Date: 1770
Creation Date: 1768/70
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Hosoban; 32.3 x 14.5 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: 1939.580
Credit Line: Frederick W. Gookin Collection
Rights: http://www.artic.edu/aic/rights/main.rights.html
Context: Stripped to the waist and brandishing his sword, Sukegoro II has clambered up among the fresh green tresses of a willow overhanging a river. His kimono is still tied around his waist, but he has pushed it behind him for greater mobility. Grasping a branch for balance, he manages a fierce stage pose (mie) in what is presumably a scene of nighttime ambush (implied by the dark blue of the sky and the fact that such attacks generally occurred at night).The complexity of the style and the combination of this particular form of Shunsho's signature with the jar-shaped Hayashi seal suggest that the print was issued between 1768 and 1770. Suzuki has suggested that the nearly bare body and cooling river setting imply a summer performance, but he is unable to identify the scene with any role recorded for Sukegoro II in the summers of these years. A similar pose is depicted in the illustrated program (ehon banzuke) for the play Kagami-ga-ike Omokage Soga (Mirror Pond: Vestiges of Soga), performed at the Nakamura Theater at the New Year in 1770, in which Sukegoro II (as Dozaburo) is set upon by two ruffians played by Nakamura Konozo and Bando Zenji I (see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, fig. 38.1, p.127). The settings, however, are very different and as Suzuki has further pointed out, this pose was part of Sukegoro II's acting style and was employed by him in many different roles A picture book of actors in characteristic mie, Himo Kagami, published in 1771, describes it as follows: ' . . . a stage pose in which he half raises his hips, bends his elbow, and twists his body' - precisely the attitude we see here.The contrast between the gracefully curving willow fronds and the assertive angularity of Sukegoro II's posture makes this a particularly satisfying design, even further enhanced by the sharp clarity and fresh, unfaded colors of this impression.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1939.580
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998

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