Ichikawa Danjuro VII in the role of an Elderly Woodcutter
Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)
On View: Asian Galleries, West, 2nd floor (China)
Woodblock print, shikishiban format; deluxe printing
Sealed: Toshidama (double loop below signature, LR corner: this is two otoshidama parcels, which are coins wrapped in cloth, given to children at New Years).
Poetry Club: Shipporen (red seal UR corner)
Signed: "Gototei Kunisada ga"
Crossing over hills
Passing through valleys,
even when just a chick
the bush warbler was drawn
to the spring breeze.
Signed Fukutokyo of Kawagoe
Gift of Dr. Eleanor Z. Wallace in memory of her husband, Dr. Stanley L. Wallace
No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) (Japanese, 1786-1865). Ichikawa Danjuro VII in the role of an Elderly Woodcutter, circa 1828. Woodblock print, shikishiban format; deluxe printing, 6 5/16 x 7 7/8 in. (16 x 20 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Eleanor Z. Wallace in memory of her husband, Dr. Stanley L. Wallace, 2002.121.6 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2002.121.6_IMLS_PS3.jpg)
overall, 2002.121.6_IMLS_PS3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Male actor in fierce role, wielding a large axe
Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga
Arrived matted in all-rag 16 x 20 in. mat
The square emblems on the sleeve identify the actor as one of the Ichikawa Danjuro line. The date and profile suggest that it is VII.
Although the green-and-rust costume and large axe would usually identify the actor as famous villain Sekibei, in this case the white wig, inscription, and two accompanying prints in the triptych all indicate that the actor is playing an elderly woodsman in a dance/drama about the youth of Kintaro, who grew up in the wilderness, raised by a "mountain hag" (Yama-uba) who may or may not have been his mother.
The print is a privately-sponsored surimono, printed with the delicate lines and printing flourishes typical of deluxe, small editions. It was originally the center sheet of a triptych, with another male figure with large axe at the left (the super-strong boy Kintaro, also known as Kaidomaru, played by Iwai Kumesaburo II) and a female figure at the right (the mountain hag, played by Segawa Kikunojo V).
Made for the Shipporen Kyoka (poetry) club, which was active from 1825 to 1835. The club's seal appears at the upper right. With no known performance of this subject involving these three actors, the staging is likely imaginary. The triptych likely dates to around 1828 as per the way Kunisada signed, and the selection and appearance of the three actors. Would have been released to celebrate the new year.
The poem on this sheet is signed by Fukutokyo, of Kawagoe. All members of the poetry club adopted the prefix "Fuku" (the character means good luck) in honor of the club's founder, Fukunoya Uchinari. In this group, they describe themselves as being from Kawagoe, a castle town in Saitama Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo.
[Interpretation and translations provided by John Carpenter, April 2020.]
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.