Katsukawa Shunsho / Sawamura Sojuro III (right), in his dressing room in conversation with Segawa Kikunojo III (left) / c. 1780/83Katsukawa Shunsho
Sawamura Sojuro III (right), in his dressing room in conversation with Segawa Kikunojo III (left)
c. 1780/83

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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: Sawamura Sojuro III (right), in his dressing room in conversation with Segawa Kikunojo III (left)
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1780
Creation End Date: 1783
Creation Date: c. 1780/83
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Oban; 36.0 x 24.6 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Shunsho ga
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1938.496
Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, The Clarence Buckingham Collection
Rights: http://www.artic.edu/aic/rights/main.rights.html
Context: Sawamura Sojuro III stands wearing a y{Old Gamma}kata (informal cotton kimono, often worn as a bathrobe) decorated with his alternate crest (kaemon) of 'chrysanthemum in a circle' (kan-giku). The gesture of wiping the ear with the end of the sleeve is a common pictorial convention for showing that a person has just returned from the bath. Squatting on the floor is the great female impersonator (onnagata) Segawa Kikunojo III, dressed in a purple-and-black striped kimono and black haori jacket, with his alternate crest (kaemon) of a butterfly just visible on the sleeve. The black jacket has been embossed to suggest the folds of the fabric, using a technique known as kimedashi.Female impersonators were expected to dress and behave as women both on and off stage, and the superstars among them often became leaders of female fashion. A print such as this would excite viewers not merely because it shows two superstars casually chatting after the show in a dressing room, normally terra incognita to outsiders (particularly females): surely many women would go on to imagine themselves as Kikunojo III in casual proximity to Sojuro III clad only in his bathrobe. For Sojuro III, in his late twenties in the early 1780s, was perhaps the most attractive romantic hero ofthe day.Surrounding the two actors is the usual furniture of the dressing room: a cosmetic stand bearing a hand-mirror draped with a towel, a bucket of water for washing the face, a wig box, a smoking set. The large storage chest (nagamochi) behind them is for clothes, and on top of this is an open costume box in which three lavish brocade kimono have been neatly folded. It was the actor's responsibility to provide his own costumes, and performances were judged in part by the suitability - or chic - of the ensemble. Resting on the costume box are a pair of stage swords in sharkskin scabbards. The name-board hanging on the wall reads 'Sojuro.'The colors of the Chicago impression are still remarkably fresh, only the pale blue on Sojuro III's yukata having faded slightly. The considerable amount of pink in the print - in Japan as in the West a 'feminine' hue - may have been selected as appropriate to Kikunojo III.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1938.496
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998

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