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Holiday for Kaminari, the Thunder God (Kaminari no Yasumi)

Suzuki Harunobu

Asian Art

This three-sheet composition illustrates the structure and lively atmosphere of a typical Kabuki theater in the late Edo period. The audience sat on three levels and enjoyed snacks and socializing during the daylong performances. Actors often made dramatic entrances along a walkway like the one seen at the left. The artist Utagawa Toyokuni designed this triptych so the central page could be swapped out to show different productions on the stage; at least two other versions of the center page exist. This version shows the theater’s first performance of the 1793 season, a play called Gozen gakari sumo Soga, which featured the first large-scale onstage sword fight. Choreographed sword sparring, called tachimawari, would become a standard element of Kabuki theater.
MEDIUM Woodblock color print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES ca. 1768
    PERIOD Edo Period
    DIMENSIONS 27 1/4 x 4 13/16 in. (69.2 x 12.2 cm) 27 1/4 x 4 13/16 in. (69.2 x 12.2 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Harunobu-ga, lower left
    CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum Collection
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1724–1770). Holiday for Kaminari, the Thunder God (Kaminari no Yasumi), ca. 1768. Woodblock color print, 27 1/4 x 4 13/16 in. (69.2 x 12.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X1119.4 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 13.80.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 13.80.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1724–1770). <em>Holiday for Kaminari, the Thunder God (Kaminari no Yasumi)</em>, ca. 1768. Woodblock color print, 27 1/4 x 4 13/16 in. (69.2 x 12.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X1119.4 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 13.80.jpg)