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okubi-e of an onnagata in a blue robe holding a fan decorated with chrysanthemums and sake cup beside a stylized stream, her hair ornament highlighted with silver mica; signed Shunsen with artist’s seal Natori, publisher’s seal Watanabe ko (Watanabe Shozaburo) at middle right edge, from an edition limited to 150 impressions, ca. 1929-1934
dai oban tate-e 15 7/8 by 10 5/8 in., 40.3 by 27.1 cm
The actor Onoe Baiko VI (1870-1934) is in the role of the courtesan Aburaya Okon from the play Ise Ondo Koi no Netaba (The Ise Dances and Love’s Dull Blade). Okon is the heroine of the play. Her lover, the warrior Fukuoka Mitsugi, has a valuable, ancient sword, for which he needs a certificate of authenticity. Together, they conspire to get the certificate, in spite of many enemies who want not only to steal the sword but obstruct their love affair. At the end of the play, Mitsugi has both the sword and its certificate safely in hand. However, the fate of Okon is uncertain.
Stage Idols: Japanese Kabuki Theater, The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, February 2008 – January 2009
Yamaguchi Keizoro, Shunsen Natori Exhibition Catalogue, Kushigata, 1991, no. 52
Kozo Yamada, Shunsen Natori: Collection of the Kushigata Shunsen Museum of Art, 2002, p. 38, cat. no. 45
James R. Brandon and Samuel L. Leiter, Kabuki Plays on Stage: Villainy and Vengeance, 1773-1799, 2002, pp. 320-323 (re: play)