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Ichikawa Ebizo IV as Takemura Sadanoshin

Toshusai Sharaku

Asian Art

The mysterious artist Tōshūsai Sharaku specialized in actor depictions in his apparently brief career as a print designer. His most groundbreaking and celebrated images focus on the face and upper body of the subject, set against a plain background covered in mica dust. Sharaku’s works emphasize the actor’s mastery of facial expressions, posture, and hand gestures to convey complex emotions. Here, one of the great performers of the day portrays a tragic hero at the moment when he realizes that his only honorable recourse is to commit ritual suicide.
MEDIUM Color woodblock print with mica on paper
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 1794/5
    PERIOD Edo period
    DIMENSIONS 14 3/8 x 9 7/16 in. (36.5 x 24 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Toshusai Sharaku
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Frederic B. Pratt
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Definitive Catalogue No.: Henderson and Ledoux. 16. Vignier-Inada. 264. Condition: good. Trimmed at bottom and right. Blue (now green) retouched. Black in hair retouched, also mouth. Paper: Japan Remarks: From the play, "Koinyobo Somewake Tazuna," 1794. From SHARAKU exhibition catalogue: "From the play "Koinyobo Somewaketazuna" at Kawarazaki-za theater in Edo. Takemura Sadanoshin is a Noh play actor in the play, who had to commit seppuku because of the disgrace by his daughter Shigenoi. Sharaku produced nine -O-ban prints about the play. Toshusai Sharaku ga, the signature, and the seals of publisher Tsutaya at left. Note: alternate name for this character is Takemura Sadanojo.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Toshusai Sharaku (Japanese, active 1794–1795). Ichikawa Ebizo IV as Takemura Sadanoshin, 1794/5. Color woodblock print with mica on paper, 14 3/8 x 9 7/16 in. (36.5 x 24 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Frederic B. Pratt, 42.85 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 42.85_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 42.85_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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