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An image of Onnagata Nakamura Noshio dancing in the role of a fox-girl by Katsukawa SHUNKÔ

Katsukawa SHUNKÔ

(Japan 1743 – 1812)

Onnagata Nakamura Noshio dancing in the role of a fox-girl
Other titles:
Actor in the role of a woman (Nakamura Noshio I), A dancing kabuki actor
(Actor Nakamura Noshio dancing)
Place of origin
Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
circa 1794
Media category
Materials used
colour woodblock print

29.2 x 14.8 cm

Signature & date
Signed c.l. in Japanese, ink [incised on block] "Shunkô ga [picture by Shunkô]". Not dated.
Purchased 1930
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

In Japanese folklore, the fox is a cunning animal that can assume human form. Here he takes the form of a woman, his hand curled like a forepaw - a clue to the disguise. The small cap worn on the forehead was standard headgear for 'onnagata'. The scene is heavily autumnal, with maple leaves above and the actor carrying chrysanthemums. Shunkô was first among the pupils devoted to the theatre of leading 'ukiyo-e' artist Katsukawa Shunshô (1726-93), founder of the important Katsukawa school.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.248.

Bibliography (4)

AJIOKA Chiaki (Curator), Heroes and villains: from Japan's floating world, Sydney, May 2001, 8. 3.17

Gary Hickey, Beauty & desire in Edo period Japan, 'Men as Women', pg. 13-18, Parkes, 1998, 14 (colour illus.), 70. 7

Jackie Menzies, The Floating World: Japan's world of transient pleasures, Sydney, 1994. K17

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Floating World', Sydney, 2003, 248 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (3)

The Floating World: Japan's World of transient pleasures, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 May 1994–17 Jul 1994

Beauty and Desire in Edo period Japan, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, 06 Jun 1998–09 Aug 1998

Heroes and Villains, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 May 2001–19 Aug 2001