Kunisada-s Danjuro

Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967

A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo: Kunisada's Danjuro
(Edo zumi hyaku shoku: Kunisada no Danjuro)

with mica on the tip of the sword; the series title cartouche in gold in the upper right margin, the print title to the left with the first portion, Kunisada no, in the style of Kunisada's signature, and the head of a kabuki actor with the face paint of Danjuro's quintessential Shibaraku ('wait a moment') role representing the 'Danjuro' portion of the title, signed at lower right in gold kanji, Bin-ni, with artist's red seal Binnie surrounded by the mimasu (3 rice measures) crest of the Danjuro family, numbered and signed in pencil on the bottom margin, 29/100 Paul Binnie; ca. May - July 2006

dai oban tate-e 16 5/8 by 12 3/8 in., 42.2 by 31.5 cm

The model holds a traditional Japanese sword, mimicking the posture of the kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859) as featured on the figure's back tattoo. The tattoo is based on the right sheet of an 1815 triptych and depicts Danjuro with his distinctive large eyes and strong jawline. The actor is in the role of Sano Jirozaemon from the play Kakitsubata iro mo Edo-zome which was staged at the Kawarazaki Theater in the 5th lunar month of 1815. Danjuro VII was perhaps the most famous actor of the late Edo Period, and set the standard for a number of prominent roles including the title role known for its pinnacle scene, Wait a Moment! (Shibaraku!), whose visage is depicted in the title cartouche. Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III, 1786-1865) was popular for his kabuki compositions, and frequently depicted Danjuro VII over the course of his career.

Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 132, no. 95
Waseda University Theater Museum, enpaku.waseda.ac.jp, accession no. 101-3394



Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967


signed in gold kanji at lower right, Bin-ni, followed by artist's red circular seal, Binnie, the title Katana, at center on the bottom margin, numbered and signed in pencil, 26/30 Paul Binnie, ca. December 2006 - January 2007

dai oban tate-e 16 3/8 by 12 in., 41.6 by 30.5 cm

This is a variant of Kunisda's Danjuro from the A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo series. The bloody handprints on the figure's body is a common device used in kabuki theater, and subsequently in kabuki warrior prints, to graphically convey the violence of a swordfight.

Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 135, no. 99



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site last updated
August 15, 2019

Scholten Japanese Art
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New York, New York 10019
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