Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
The Governess Masaoka
kappazuri (stencil) print on gold-leaf paper, hand-signed in red pigment Binnie, and numbered jushichi (17) out of an edition of approximately 20, with red date seal Heisei nanane (Heisei 7 )
obaiban tate-e 25 by 18 3/8 in., 63.4 by 46.6 cm
This composition depicts Masaoka, the heroic nurse of the infant prince from the play Meiboku Sendai hagi (The Disputed Succession). Masaoka is largely responsible for foiling an attempted coup, led by the wicked Nikki Danjo. She allows her own son Senmatsu to eat poisoned cakes that Lady Yoshio (one of the coup plotters) had meant for the prince, and subsequently watches as Lady Yashio murders the child before the poison could take effect and reveal her treachery. Masaoka exacts revenge on the plotters, killing Lady Yashio and stealing a scroll which lists everyone involved in the coup. Her strength of character is reflected in this composition. Binnie affords the nurse a sense of regality, with her strong posture and the composition's golden background. The print admirably reflects the heroism that her character displayed on stage.
Arendie and Henk Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage, 2004, pp. 243-249 (re: play)
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 74, no. 32
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
February 24, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...