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An Actor, Probably Arashi Ryuzo
Katsukawa Shun'ei (1762 - 1895)
Japan; Edo period (1615-1867), late 18th century - early 19th century
Woodblock print; Ink and color on paper
H. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm); W. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
This okubi-e or "big head" format print shows a balding actor with one arm bared and extended in preemptory fashion. The figure may be the actor Arashi Ryuzo in his role as the moneylender Ishibe Kinkichi in the play Hana-ayame Bunroku Soga, a tale of revenge taken by three sons for the murder of their father. The small seal beneath the artist Shun'ei's signature reads kiwame, "inspection concluded." It was the first censor's seal to be used on Japanese woodblock prints.
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