Actor Arashi Wakano II in an Acrobatic Scene, Crossing a Length of Silk, a Great Hit (Kono tokoro nuno watari, ôatari ôatari)
printed about 1822 (Bunsei 5); designed 1750s
Artist Unknown, Japanese
Kurahashi, "Color Fan Prints," in Ukiyo-e Art 166 (2013), fig. 1
Horizontal ôban; 28 x 39.9 cm (11 x 15 11/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Woodblock print (benizuri-e); ink and limited color on paper
Not On View
One of a group of eleven fan prints printed in ink plus one or two colors, with hand-written notes dateable to 1822, bound together as an album. The prints and handwritten notes are very similar to the contents of a two-volume album of 111 ink-only fan prints now in the Kaga Bunko collection of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library, entitled Dansen-e sumizuriban kagami, formerly the property of a fan dealer in Horie-machi, most likely Ibaya Jinzaemon (who may be related to the ukiyo-e publisher Ibaya Senzaburô). The prints seem to have been made from old blocks for the records of the fan store, shortly before 1822 when the hand-written comments were added. At some point, these eleven color prints were separated from the remaining ink-only prints and somehow came into the Spaulding collection.
The handwritten note on the left side of this print identifies the production as that of 1722 (Kyôhô 7), in which Arashi Wakano I performed a scene of this kind; but color prints were not yet being made at that time. Arashi Wakano II is known to have performed similar acrobatic scenes in several plays of the 1750s, although the specific production shown here has not yet been identified.
William S. and John T. Spaulding Collection