Kabuki Theater (Left screen)


Kabuki Theater (Left screen)

Paintings / Edo

By Hishikawa Moronobu (died 1694)

Edo period, 17th century

Color on paper



Important Cultural Property

This work comes from a set of two 6-panelled folding screens. Painted by Hishikawa Moronobu, an ukiyo-e artist during the early Edo period, it depicts a theater used for performances of kabuki, one of Japan's traditional performing arts, though only the left-hand screen is displayed here.
The right of the screen depicts the theater dressing room. It shows familiar backstage scenes of face washing, hair styling, costume donning, and tea making, for instance. In a teahouse adjoining the dressing room on the left, people dance to a musical accompaniment. Some people watch while drinking alcohol, while others gaze at the cherry blossoms. This seems to be a special salon for actors to receive guests. The setting is somewhat different to the regular stage for general customers. This vibrant work depicts each individual in vivid fashion.
At 170 centimeters high, the screen is around 20 centimeters larger than usual. This also suggests it was made by special commission.

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