Actors Imagined as the Eight Dog Heroes: Ebizo V and Kuzo II
both sheets signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga, with censor's seal kiwame and publisher's seal Kichi, Ryogoku, Kagaya (Kagaya Kichiemon of Seiseido), ca. 1840
diptych 14 7/8 by 20 in., 37.7 by 50.7 cm
This series of diptychs depicts popular actors imagined in characters from the Nanso Satomi Hakkenden (The Eight Dog Chronicles) by Kyokutei Bakin (1767-1848), an epic tale comprised of 106 volumes which were published over a period of 28 years, the first in 1814 and the last in 1842. The stories revolve around eight samurai who are half-brothers, all descendents of a dog and each with the word dog in their names.
The actor Ichikawa Ebizo V (Danjuro, 1791-1860) on the right with long curly hair and an elaborate robe (decorated with a breaking wave on the hem) is imagined as Inuyama Dosetsu standing with his sword drawn. On the left the actor Ichikawa Kuzo II (1800-1871) as the character Inugawa Sosuke subdues one's of Dosetsu's vassals while tugging at a taunt cord attached to his purse which Dosetsu has clamped in his mouth.
The British Museum, accession no. 2008,3037.12603 (dated ca. 1840)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 11.3808a-b (dated ca. 1830s)
(inv. no. 10-5374)
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