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Maker(s):Utagawa Kunisada II; Yamamotoya Heikichi, publisher
Culture:Japanese (1823–1880); Japanese (active ca. 1812–1886)
Title:The Actor Bandō Hikosaburō V as the Female Monkey Trainer Oyoshi ('Onna sarumawashi oyoshi bandō hikosaburō')
Date Made:1862
Materials:polychrome woodblock print
Place Made:Edo
Measurements:overall: 14 5/16 in x 9 3/4 in; 36.4 cm x 24.8 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2005.236
Credit Line:Gift of William Green
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

one panel of triptych; ōban tate-e; onnagata; yakusha-e; nishiki-e

Label Text:
This print shows an actor playing an onnagata, or female role, with a finely dressed monkey on her shoulder. Although kabuki was historically staged first by women, the eroticism of the plays led to prostitution and brawls between patrons over actresses’ favors. As a result, officials barred women from the stage in 1629. Erotic and immoral content persisted in all-male kabuki performances of the following decade, causing Tokugawa officials variously to forbid female and adolescent-male roles in a flurry of censorship. By 1652, however, these bans had been lifted on the condition that all actors wear a shaved forelock regardless of their role. Actors specializing in female roles thus began wearing a small purple headscarf to cover their shaved foreheads, as demonstrated by Bandō Hikosaburō V in this print. – 2015

The publisher's seal, the character "kyū" beneath an interlocking two-peaked mountain, is that of Yamamotya Heikichi of the firm Eikyūdō. This print is signed at middle-left "Kunisada ga" ('drawn by Kunisada') within a toshidama cartouche. Immediately to the right of the cartouche is the seal of an as-yet unidentified woodblock cutter. Above the artist's signature is the combined date-aratame censor seal, which indicates this print was issued in the tenth lunar month of 1862 (Bunkyū 2). - BB 2013

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