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Seikanji Utako as Gosetsu no Maihime

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Seikanji Utako

as Gosetsu no Maihime

by Ogawa Hyōe, 1915

IHL Cat. #851

About This Print

One of seven prints by Ogawa Hyōe that appeared in the magazine Shin Nigao. Although the primary purpose behind the magazine was to advertise the Kabuki theater and renew interest in actor prints, five prints in the last issue of the magazine portrayed individuals involved in the month-long celebrations of Emperor Yoshihito's (Emperor Taishō) enthronement in November 1915.  This portrait is of Seikanji Utako, a young woman descended from court lineage, chosen as one of five dancers to perform the ancient dance Gosechi no Mai at the coronation celebration.  A second print portraying another dancer, Hagiwara Taneko, as Gosetsu no Maihime (IHL Cat. #280) was also contributed to this same issue by Ogawa.

The website of the Institute of Taiwan History1 lists both Seikanji Utako and Hagiwara Taneko as taking part in the preparations for the Grand Ceremony of the Imperial Coronation held in Kyoto.  

For more information on this short-lived magazine whose purpose was to advertise the Kabuki theater and renew interest in actor prints, see the article Shin Nigao Magazine.

Reporting on the Coronation Entertainment - The Straits Times, 28 August 1915

Source: website of the National Library of Singapore http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/Article/straitstimes19150828.2.50.aspx

In regard to the entertainments to be given on the first day of the Coronation, the ancient "quintuple dance" known as Gosechi-no-Mai will constitute, according to the Coronation Committee the most prominent part of the programme. The origin of this dance is said to be traceable as far back as the days of Emperor Temmu (697 a.d.)

The ladies who will perform the dance next November at the Coronation celebration have been selected from among the unmarried daughters of the descendants of ancient courtiers, to the number of eight, of whom three form the reserve.  The ladies vary in age from 19 to 23 years, and will appear dressed in ancient costumes.


Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #851
 Title (Description)
 Gosetsu no Maihime (Seikanji Utako)  姫舞之節五 (清閑寺歌子). Title is transcribed from the Table of Contents of Issue 5 of Shin Nigao(see "Miscellaneous" below.)
(The young lady Seikanji Utako in the garb of Gosetsu no Maihime.)
 Series  Shin Nigao (New Portraits) volume five 新似顔 第一年五編
 Ogawa Hyōe (active c. 1915) (Given name also read as Heibei)
 not signed
 Seal  not sealed
 Date  1915
 Edition  First and only edition printed in magazine Shin Nigao
 Publisher  Nigaodō 似顔洞
 Carver  Igami Bonkotsu (1875-1933)
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent
notation on verso
right column:
五節之舞姫 (清閑寺歌子)
Gosetsu no Maihime (Seikanji Utako)
left column:
小川兵衛 Ogawa Hyōe
Shin Nigao #5, Table of Contents - entry for this print
五節之舞姫 清閑寺歌子
Gosetsu no Maihime Seikanji Utako

 Genre  shin hanga (new prints); nigao-e
 Format  Koban
 H x W Paper  7 1/4 x 4 5/8 (18.4 x 11.7 cm) 
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