Katsukawa Shunsho / The actors Ichikawa Monnosuke II (left), Iwai Hanshiro IV (center) and Iwai Karumo (?)(right), on a landing backstage / c. 1780/83Katsukawa Shunsho
The actors Ichikawa Monnosuke II (left), Iwai Hanshiro IV (center) and Iwai Karumo (?)(right), on a landing backstage
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: The actors Ichikawa Monnosuke II (left), Iwai Hanshiro IV (center) and Iwai Karumo (?)(right), on a landing backstage
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; 37.5 x 26.2 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Shunsho ga
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1925.2364
Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, The Clarence Buckingham Collection
Rights: http://www.artic.edu/aic/rights/main.rights.html
Context: Three actors, stylishly but informally clad, are gathered on a staircase landing backstage.When the Nakamura and Ichimura theaters were rebuilt in 1781, the shared dressing rooms for the male leads were on the third floor (sangai) and individual dressingrooms for the female impersonators (onnagata) on the second-floor mezzanine level (chu? nikai). The staircase behind Monnosuke II is perhaps the one leading up to the dressing rooms on the third floor. Stored behind it are a stack of lamps on stands.Given pride of place in the center of the group is Iwai Hanshiro IV (1747-1800), who shared top ranking among female impersonators with Segawa Kikunojo III during the 1770s and '80s. Offstage he is said to have had a fiery temper, but the public seems to havebeen fond of his plump, round face and called him by the affectionate nickname Otafuku Hanshiro (Otafuku was the archetypal chubby woman of popular folklore). Here he wears a pink (therefore feminine) kimono, its trailing skirts decorated with bamboo canes: the long black haori jacket was fashionable with entertainers of both sexes. His hair is wound informally around a single hairpin, feminine style. Draped around Hanshiro IV's shoulders is a purple hand towel which he holds up to his half-open mouth ina gesture of surprise.His conversation partner is Ichikawa Monnosuke II (1743-1794), whose good looks and splendid stage presence made him one of the most popular male leads of his generation, excelling in both swashbuckling (aragoto) and tender (wagoto)roles. He is dressed in a black-striped kimono and brown-striped jacket, with his informal crest (kaemon) of 'maple leaves in a lozenge shape' (momiji-bishi) on the sleeve. In a casual, comic touch, his topknot has slipped lopsidedly off-center.The identity of the third figure is uncertain, though his discreet downward gaze and lack of participation in the conversation make it clear that he is an altogether lesser light than the two stars. On his sleeve is the 'three fans in a circl' crest of the Iwai family, suggesting that he is a pupil (and attendant) of Hanshiro IV, perhaps Iwai Karumo (future Iwai Kiyotaro II).
AMICA ID: AIC_.1925.2364
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998

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