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Flowers of the Theatrical World: Nakamura Utaemon  - Yamamura  Koka, Toyonari prints

Flowers of the Theatrical World: Nakamura Utaemon

By Yamamura Koka, Toyonari

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Flowers of the Theatrical World: Nakamura Utaemon  - Yamamura  Koka, Toyonari print

Yamamura Koka, Toyonari
1921

Contact Scholten Japanese Art about Flowers of the Theatrical World: Nakamura Utaemon By Yamamura Koka, Toyonari

Date: 1921

Medium: woodblock

Edition size: n/a

Sheet size: 41.2x28.9 cm

Condition: excellent

Signature: signed

Price: $1800 (excl. taxes)

Description:

The clue to identifying the role is the piece of red fabric in the foreground. The character is Owasa from the play Gosho Zakura Horikawa no Youchi (Imperial Palace Cherry Blossoms and Horikawa Night Attack) a maruhonmono (drama originally based on puppet theater). In this scene, popularly known as the Benkei Joshi scene, Shinobu, a lady-in-waiting, is asked to give up her life in place of Yoshitsune's wife, Kyonokimi. Shinobu is surprised but agrees to submit as a loyal retainer. Her mother, Owasa, refuses to accept it and explains that her daughter has never met her father. In fact, even Owasa herself doesn't know his name or what he looks like- all she has is a red sleeve her one time lover left behind. She shows the sleeve that she has kept with her always as a memento of the one night they were together. Owasa is unable to sway the attackers, and the final blow comes from a sword through a fusuma panel. Benkei emerges from behind the panel holding a bloody sword and pulls a matching red sleeve from beneath his kimono. He was Owasa's lover, and he has just murdered his own daughter.

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