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Loan Object
Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I, Japanese, 1769–1825

Kabuki Stage with a Curtain Lifting to Reveal Three Kabuki Actors

1822 (Year of the Horse)

Surimono, shikishiban; polychrome woodblock print with brass and silver pigment, burnishing, and gauffrage

sheet: 7 1/2 × 8 1/16 in. (19 × 20.5 cm)
Promised gift of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, B.A. 1970
ILE2017.30.61

初代歌川豊国 歌舞伎座 江戸時代

This innovative print represents the interior of the Ichimura Theater in Edo (present-day Tokyo), in commemoration of a play performed there in 1823. A literal “curtain”—the pale blue color—sets the stage. When pulled up, the curtain reveals a scene of the three actors in the play Three Famed Warriors Crossing Paths as they meet on a road outside a teahouse. They are not depicted in character, however, as they would be dressed as a murderous highwayman, a great warrior, and a beautiful noblewoman. Instead, they all appear in casual attire. Seki Sanjūrō II stands to the left, near the bamboo fence, catching sight of Onoe Kikugorō V, who eyes him worriedly at center. Ichikawa Danjūrō VII, in turn, looks up at them from his seat on the bench.

Geography: 
Japan
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Japanese
Period: 
Edo period (1615–1868)
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Prints
Provenance: 

Collection of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian.

Bibliography: 

Sadako Ohki and Adam Haliburton, The Private World of Surimono: Japanese Prints from the Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian Collection (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2020), 213–15, no. 59, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.