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Actor Segawa Kikujirō I as Senju-no-mae

Torii Kiyomasu II

Asian Art

Japanese printers did not develop the technique of using multiple printing blocks for full-color images until the 1770s. This early print combines two enhancement techniques that were available to printmakers before that time: shiny, deep black lacquer (added to the figure’s sash) and watercolor (added in areas throughout). The subject, an actor who specialized in female roles, here plays the part of a celebrated courtesan who became a Buddhist nun after experiencing heartbreak.
MEDIUM Woodblock print on paper with watercolor and lacquer
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES ca. 1731-1740
    PERIOD Edo Period
    DIMENSIONS 13 3/16 x 6 1/8 in. (33.5 x 15.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Publisher: Iseya Jisuke.
    SIGNATURE Torii Kiyomasu (鳥居清倍)
    CREDIT LINE Museum Collection Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Urushie: lacquer print with color applied by hand Condition: badly repaired at corners, stained, rubbed, soiled Signature: Torii Kiyomasu II Remarks: Publisher: Iseya Hosoban. The print combines several techniques: it is printed in black ink, then printed again to apply black lacquer on the actor's sash (this is now lifting up in places), then color was applied by hand to select areas. The story of Senju-no-mae was popular in Kabuki and elsewhere. After falling in love with a doomed warrior, the courtesan takes refuge in a Buddhist monastery.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Torii Kiyomasu II (Japanese, 1706-1750). Actor Segawa Kikujirō I as Senju-no-mae, ca. 1731-1740. Woodblock print on paper with watercolor and lacquer, 13 3/16 x 6 1/8 in. (33.5 x 15.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 16.532 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 16.532_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 16.532_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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