Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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An actor in the role of the samurai Nagoya Sanza

  • Description

    ‘Large head’ pictures (ōkubi-e), showing just the head and shoulders of the subject rather than the whole body, became popular after the 1780s. Ōkubi-e allowed the print designer to emphasize particular facial features, expressions or make-up of the actor depicted.

    Depiction of costumes also formed an essential feature of actor prints. Motifs and patterns on costumes often emphasize the emotions of a role, or reflect in some way the content of the play. The dashing young samurai depicted here is easily identified by his kimono, which is decorated with a distinctive pattern of swallows in the rain.

  • Details

    Ukiyo's Sword Hilt, a Double Grave Mound and the Mark of the Lightning Bolt
    Associated place
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of creation)
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of publication)
    designed 1860
    Utagawa Kunisada (1823-1880) (designer)
    Associated people
    Ōtaya Takichi (active c. 1848 - 1867) (publisher)
    Material and technique
    mount 55.6 x 40.6 cm (height x width)
    print 36 x 24 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Presented by Mrs Allan and Mr and Mrs H. N. Spalding, 1952.
    Accession no.



  • kimono

    Kimonos, or 'the thing worn' in Japanese, had seasonal designs. The style of kimonos would change four times a year, and winter kimonos would be padded.

Past Exhibition

see (1)


    • currently in research collection

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