Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865
Backstage: Nakamura Shikan IV
signed Kio Toyokuni ga within Toshidama cartouche, with block carver's seal Yokokawa Hori Iwa, publisher's seal Kinkaido shi (Tsujiya Yasubei), combined censor and date seal, Tori-juni, aratame (year of the Tiger , 12th month, examined), 1861
oban tate-e 14 1/2 by 9 3/4 in., 36.8 by 24.9 cm
The actor Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-99) is seated before a red lacquer mirror stand as he puts on a wig with the help of an attendant, unseen except for his hands, whose holds a hair pick at the ready to fix the coiffure. Shikan IV, the son of a former kabuki actor who had become a backstage manager in Osaka, took to the stage at an early age. Having already performed as a child in Osaka, Shikan was adopted by another actor from the same Nakamura clan who brought him to Edo where he developed further and became one of the most successful and versatile actors of his time, touring widely throughout Japan.
Edo Tokyo Museum, acquisition no. 91200235
Waseda University Theatre Museum, acquisition no. 120-0214
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site last updated
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Scholten Japanese Art
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