Iwai Hanshiro IV as Shigenoi

by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)

Current Status

Iwai Hanshiro IV as Shigenoi by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)

Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795) Japanese Woodblock Reprint
Iwai Hanshiro IV as Shigenoi

Sharaku - Not much is known about the woodblock print artist Toshusai Sharaku, who specialized in kabuki portraits. His career spanned only ten months from 1794 to 1795, with around 150 prints known. Unlike his contemporaries, Sharaku did not idealize his subjects, instead creating realistic portrayals that were not always flattering, and his prints were not a popular success at the time. His best works convey a rare perceptivity, with a psychological insight and a deep understanding of the dramatic nature of the roles and the actors he depicted. Sharaku left behind a body of masterworks of ukiyo-e kabuki portraiture that remained unrecognized until a century after his death.

Comments - Lovely Sharaku portrait of the wet-nurse Shigenoi in the drama "Koi Nyobo Somewake Tazuna" as portrayed by Iwai Hanshiro IV. In one of the most poignant scenes from the play, Shigenoi parts from her young long-lost son without revealing his identity, to save her master's daughter from embarrassment at being the foster sister of a lowly groom. She looks over her shoulder with an anxious, slightly sad smile, holding an amulet bag in her hand. She wears a fine kimono in pale peach patterned with butterflies, with an outer robe in soft orange red. A moving design, considered one of Sharaku's best, with a lovely distressed metallic silver background.

Artist - Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)

Image Size - 15" x 10 1/4" + margins as shown

Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. Please see photos for details. Nice condition overall.

Iwai Hanshiro IV as Shigenoi by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)
Iwai Hanshiro IV as Shigenoi by Sharaku (active 1794 - 1795)