Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
A Great Mirror of the Actors of the Heisei Period: Actor Nakamura Shikan as Ohatsu in Kagamiyama
(Heisei yakusha o-kagami: Shikan - Ohatsu)
the series and print title cartouches at upper left, with numbered limited edition cartouche, juni/hyaku (12/100), signed in sumi kanji below, Bin-ni, with red artist's seal Binnie, date seal Heisei kyu-nen (Heisei 9 ), pencil-numbered and -signed at the bottom margin, 12/100, Paul Binnie
dai oban tate-e 17 by 12 1/4 in., 43.3 by 31 cm
This composition is the second from the Heisei yakusha o-kagami series and depicts the actor Nakamura Shikan VII (1928-2011) in the role of Ohatsu from the play Kagamiyama (Mirror Mountain), popularly known as the Onna Chushingura (Female Chushingura). Ohatsu is the servant of the much beloved lady-in-waiting Onoe. However, Onoe is plotted against by her rival, the envious lady-in-waiting Iwafuji. Iwafuji publicly shames Onoe to such a great extent that Onoe resolves to commit seppuku. Ever loyal to her mistress, Ohatsu rushes to prevent Onoe's death but arrives too late. In a fury, and taking a lesson from Enya Hangan's decision to attack Moronao in Chushingura (The Forty-Seven Ronin), Ohatsu confronts and kills the evil Iwafuji. Unlike Hangan, who is killed by shogunal decree after striking his rival, Ohatsu is rewarded for her loyalty and devotion to the truth. Onoe's reputation is cleared and Ohatsu is elevated to her late mistress' rank, taking the name Onoe the Second.
Shikan VII was designated a Living National Treasure by the Japanese government in 1996, and a Person of Cultural Merit in 2006. He passed away from lung disease in 2011.
Arendie and Henk Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage, 2004, pp. 256-261 (re: play)
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 88, no. 47
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