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Graffiti on a Storehouse Wall

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Asian Art

MEDIUM Color woodblock print on paper
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 1847
    PERIOD Edo Period
    DIMENSIONS approx.: 10 × 15 in. (25.4 × 38.1 cm)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Gift of John C. Copoulos
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Central page from the triptych known as "Scribblings on the Storehouse Wall" (Nitakaragura kabe no mudagaki). Vertical oban-sized print depicting a wall covered with graffiti, mostly consisting of thinly disguised portraits of well-known actors in celebrated roles. At the center is the figure of a dancing cat. This is the central page of a triptych, one of several groups (2 triptychs and 1 diptych, plus an homage by Kunichika that references the work of Kuniyoshi) of graffiti images that the artist made following new censorship laws that forbade the representation of actors. The Japanese title, Nitakaragura, is a pun, as it sounds like the phrase "nita kara," meaning "don't they resemble them?" The "dancing cat" triptych, as this group is known, differs from the other triptych in its inclusion of the lower section of the wall, with its less artistic scribblings. The actors have been identified, running clockwise from the top center: - Ichimura Uzaemon XII in the role of Tsukimoto Inaba Kosuke, in the play Onoe Baiju Ichidai Banasi - Matsumoto Koshiro VI in the role of Yokogawa Kakuha in Yoshitsune senbon sakura - Nakamura Utaemon IV in the role of Sato Tadanobu Kakuha in Yoshitsune senbon sakura - Bando Shuka - Sawamura Ujuro Jagatara Sanzo in the play Sawamura ski hakata no hanabishi - Ichikawa Shinsha Th publisher for this series is Iba-ya Sensaburo.
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