Kabuki actor in role [one sheet of a triptych print]

Utagawa Kunisada, Artist

This is one of the prints in our collection. It was made in Japan in 1856.
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Object Detail

About the Work
"Recently I have been looking online through Van Gogh’s personal collection of Japanese prints of which he owned around 250 Kunisada designs. Those elements in Japanese prints that captured the post-impressionist imagination still resonate with me today in the use of bold colour, flattened perspectives and decorative motifs."
- Graham Fletcher 'My Choice' April 2021

Note 1. An alternate impression of this scene is distinguished by a kanji character in white outline on the garment on the back of this figure. This character is omitted from this impression, and the green colour block slightly put of register suggesting an alternate edition. See:

Note 2. Torinomachi = Festival of the Cock, held at Washi Daimyojin Shrine in Asakusa during the 11th month. The kumade hairpins in the form of small bamboo rakes adorned with coloured ribbons were a popular souvenir sold at the shrine during the festival. The background landscape depicts the swampy rice growing area around the Shrine, and directly beyond the licensed brothel district of Yoshiwara

This image is representative of the Edo period (1615-1867) ukiyo-e – ‘floating world pictures' . The artist also illustrates aspects of the highly decorative and colourful nishiki-e ‘brocade print’ style, and demonstratse the apogee of nineteenth and early twentieth century woodblock print craftsmanship that represented the unique collaborative efforts of artist, publisher, block carver and printer.

Info from Doctor David Bell, University of Otago June 2010.
Image 368 x 256mm
woodblock print in nishiki-e (brocade) style
Colour Japanese woodblock print showing a partially clothed male figure stepping with one leg raised high and his fingers splayed. He is wearing a cloth headband and his robes are flowing behind him as he moves. In the background are some wooden circular tubs, and to the left is a tall wooden screen.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua, Whanganui. Gift of Miss D. Collier, 1977.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date



Accession Number: