Ichikawa Danjûrô VII as Jô and Segawa Kikunojô V as Uba
Kunisada, Utagawa; designer; Japanese artist, 1786-1865
Surimono. Colour print from woodblocks with metallic pigment and blind embossing (karazuri). Shikishiban. Signed: ôjû (by order) Kunisada ga. Producer’s seal: Surikô Kozen. c.1823.
given; 1937; Barron, E. Evelyn
The scene is from a play based on the subject of the Eternal Couple from the Legend of Takasago. Jô and Uba were supposed to have fallen in love when young, and after living to a very old age their spirits came to abide in pine trees, one on the beach at Takasago in Harima, and the other at Sumiyoshi in Sesshû near Osaka. Their spirits returned on moonlit nights in human form with rakes to continue their work of clearing the pine needles on Takasago Beach. The legend inspired the Nô play Takasago, and was subsequently taken up by Kabuki, especially in the celebratory Takasago mono (Takasago dances), a line of celebratory dances, such as Takasago tanzen, premiered in 1785. In this print the actors are holding Nô masks. Jo and Uba were a popular subject in art. They are usually shown, Jo with a rake and Uba with a broom, sweeping pine needles, which symbolise longevity, an appropriate wish for surimono intended as New Year gifts.
Object Number: P.480-1937
(Paintings, Drawings and Prints)
(record id: 182359; input: 2011-03-29; modified: 2017-01-03)