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May - Yanone and June - Tenno festival



Utagawa Kunisada/Toyokuni III


1786 – 1865

Utagawa Kunihisa


1832 – 1891

  • Details

    Alternative title
    Mitate jû-ni kagetsu no uchi Go-gatsu Yane (illeg.) Roku-gatsu Tenno matsuri
    Place where the work was made
    Ansei era 1854 - 1860 Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    Media category
    Materials used
    woodblock print; ink and colour on paper
    35.9 x 25.2 cm image; 36.7 x 25.3 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r., in Japanese, ink [incised on block] "Ichiyôsai Toyokuni hitsu [picture by Ichiyôsai Toyokuni, and artist's seal]". Not dated.
    Signed u.l. [in the inserted image], in Japanese, ink [incised on block] "Kunihisa ga [picture by Kunihisa]". Not dated.

    Purchased 1994
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Utagawa Kunisada/Toyokuni III

    Works in the collection


    Artist information
    Utagawa Kunihisa

    Works in the collection


  • About

    The series from which this comes from is a 'mitate' (representation) of seasons, and this print depicts May and June. The characteristic makeup of the kabuki actor is called 'kumadori', and was developed from the 17th century. The various types of 'kumadori' emphasises the movement of facial muscles, and form an integral part of 'aragoto' plays (rough stuff). The red 'kumadori' indicates strength, which was probably the reason this image was chosen to represent May, the month of the Boy's Festival.

    The play, Arrow Head ('Ya-no Ne') is one of the Eighteen Plays ('Kabuki Juhachiban') which was developed around 1832 as a selection of successful kabuki classics of the Ichikawa Family actors. Some of the eighteen plays have been absorbed into other plays, but Arrow Head, like Kanjincho, is one of the most popularly played items. In the story, Soga-no Goro, a popular kabuki hero who is planning to avenge his murdered father, falls asleep while sharpening large arrow heads. His brother Juro appears in the dream, calling for help. Goro wakes up, grabs a horse and rides away to rescue his brother.

    The image of the Tenno festival in the insert is signed by Utagawa Kunihisa (1832-1891). Kunihisa studied under Kunisada and married his daughter.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, November 1994.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Utagawa Kunisada/Toyokuni III

See all 52 works

Other works by Utagawa Kunihisa