Natori Shunsen 名取春仙: Nakamura Kichiemon I as Arajishi Otokonosuke (Reserved)

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Artist: Natori Shunsen 名取春仙
Title: Nakamura Kichiemon I as Arajishi Otokonosuke

Series: Supplement to Collection of Portraits by Shunsen 
Date: 1931

Vivid and intense portrait of Nakamura Kichiemon I as Arajishi Otokonosuke in the scene Ashikaga-ke yokashita, from the play Meiboku Sendai hagi 伽羅先代萩 足利家床下 performed at the kabuki za in October of 1928. The actor plays the faithful retainer to the young and vulnerable heir to the Date clan, and this is the “Below the Floor” scene where he is standing guard when a giant rat appears. He attempts to stab the giant rat, who is in reality Nikki Danjo, an evil magician. This role happens to be one of the best-preserved examples of the Edo aragato acting style, as it has been performed continuously for more than 200 years. The actor wears the read kumadori makeup and holds the knife that he used to stab at the giant rat. You can find clips of this famous kabuki scene with contemporary actors who wear the same makeup and costume today on You Tube. One of the strongest designs in the series and very beautifully printed; said to be from an edition of only 150 prints.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Mint
Dimensions: 39.7 x 27.6 cm
Publisher: Watanabe Shôzaburô
Literature: Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, 2015, number 45, page 97. See Minneapolis Institute of Art.