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Onoe Kikugorō V as Mibu no Kozaru from the series Magic in the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The actor Onoe Kikugorō V as Mibu no Kozaru

from the series Magic in the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1877

Lady of the Court Uematsu Michiko from the series List of Musical Beauties
IHL Cat. #1326

About This Print

The actor Onoe Kikugorō V (1844-1903) as Mibu no Kozaru in the play Tsuki no Ume Megumi no Kagekiyo.

For a profile of Onoe Kikugorō V please see the article The Kabuki Actor.

The Series Magic in the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac

This series of twelve prints depicts actors in roles associated with the twelve animal signs of the Zodiac.  The Japanese Zodiac and calendar were introduced from China into Japan in the sixth century.  Legend has it that the animals of the Zodiac (子 Rat, 丑 Ox, 寅 Tiger, 卯 Hare, 辰 Dragon, 巳 Snake, 午 Horse, 未 Goat, 申 Monkey, 酉 Rooster, 戌 Dog and 亥 Boar) were named by the Buddha as he lay dying.  

The Lavenberg Collection contains five prints from the series: Sawamura Tosshō II as Tora ŌmaruIchikawa Sadanji as the monk Raigo AjariBandō Hikosaburō as Unryū KūrōOnoe Kikugorō V as Mibu no Kozaru and Bandō Hikosaburō as Inugami HyōbuTo see all twelve prints from the series go to Sawamura Tosshō II as Tora Ōmaru.   

While some sources attribute the images in the series to particular plays, my guess is that the scenes depicted are from the imagination of Kunichika, rather than from actual plays.  

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #649
 Title (Description) Onoe Kikugorō V as Mibu no Kozaru 尾上菊五郎 三生の小猿
 Series Magic in the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac - Monkey
 奇術十二支之内  kijutsu jūnishi no uchi - saru (as shown in main cartouche)
 Artist Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
 Signature
豊原国周 筆
Toyohara Kunichika hitsu with toshidama seal
 Seal (of the artist) toshidama seal
 Publication Date
date seal 明治十年二月一日 (February 1, 1877)
 Publisher
right rectangle: 植木 林之助 Ueki Rinnosuke (Ebiya Rinnosuke) and address [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 040]
left rectangle: 荒川八十八画 Arakawa Yasohachi (Kunichika's mother's surname and the artist's given name followed by the artist's address) 

 Carver
 Hori Yata 木りヤタ
 Impression excellent
 Colors good
 Condition fair - some offsetting; trimming; paper wrinkling
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e; mitate
 Miscellaneous 
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 13 11/16 x 9 in. (34.8 x 22.9 cm)
 Literature 
 
 Collections This Print
 Tokyo Metropolitan Museum 015-03; National Diet Library http://dl.ndl.go.jp/titleThumb/info:ndljp/pid/9369996


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