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Archive: Shigeharu (重春)

Description:
Ichikawa Hakuen II (市川白猿) as Monokawa Kurando (者川蔵人) in Oniwaka nagori no motodori (Oniwaka's farewell topknot: 鬼若名残髻), Naka Theater, Osaka
Signature:
Ryûsai Shigeharu ga (柳齋重春画)
Seals:
No artist seal
Publisher:
Wataki (ワタキ) = Wataya Kihei (綿屋喜兵衛)
Date:
9/1829
Format:
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
39 x 26.3 cm
Impression:
Excellent
Condition:
Excellent color, unbacked; one small repaired wormhole LR corner, minor paper and printing flaws and other marks
Price (USD/¥):
SOLD

Inquiry: SGH50

Comments:
Background

Ichikawa Hakuen II (市川白猿) was the temporary acting name of the Edo superstar Ichikawa Danjûrô VII (市川 團十郎 1791-1859; also known in different periods as Ichikawa Ebizô V), who performed briefly in Osaka (5/1829 to 3/1830) after fires destroyed all three main Edo theaters (Nakamura-za, Ichimura-za and Kawarazaki-za) in 3/1829 (21st day of the 3rd lunar month). Hakuen also performed in Sakai and Kyoto in the tenth and eleventh months of 1829, respectively, and toured Ise, Nagoya and Tateyama in spring and summer 1830 before returning to Edo in 8/1830. His appearance in Osaka caused quite a sensation, and fans filled the theaters to watch him perform. The name Hakuen was first used on the kabuki stage by his grandfather, Danjûrô V, in the premiere of Date kurabe Okuni kabuki (The Date rivalry as Okuni kabuki: 伊達競阿國劇場) in 1778.

Oniwaka nagori no motodori (Oniwaka's farewell topknot: 鬼若名残髻) is the title given to a group of five hayagawari (quick-change: 早替り) dances for which Hakuen performed five different male roles. These were part of a program of onagori kyôgen (farewell plays: (御名残狂言) that commemorated Hakuen's imminent departure for the provinces and ultimate return to Edo. Typically, onagori kyôgen included selections of an actor's most admired or favorite roles.

Design

Monokawa Kurando is one of five dance-roles performed by Hakuen; others in the grouping include Oniwakamaru (鬼若丸), Atakaseki Benkei (あたか関べんけい), and an ice-water vendor (Reisui uri: 冷水うり). These four full-length figures are complemented by an impressive ôkubi-e ("large-head" or bust portrait: 大首絵) design with Hakuen in the role of Yanone Gorô (矢の根五郎).

The large Ichikawa-patterned cartouche encircled by a black bat includes the characters for onagori ("farewell": 御名ごり), in this instance serving as a send-off for a short tour in Sakai (at the Shukuin Theater) during the tenth month and in Kyoto at the Kitagawa Theater in the eleventh month. He was back in Osaka in 1/1830, but he remained there only until 3/1830, next touring the provinces (Ise, Nagoya, and Tateyama) before returning to Edo in 8/1830.

Impressions of these dances can be found in Ikeda Bunko Library, Osaka (inv S331); Waseda University (Tsubouchi Memorial Theater Museum, Tokyo, inv 016-0122, 1245, 1246), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (69-208-298ab).

This impression has very well-preserved colors and survives with an exceptionally large top margin.

References: IKBYS-III, no. 571; WAS-IV, no. 404 (inv 016-1246); OSP, no. 133