Kabuki Actors Ichikawa Yaozō II, Nakajima Mihoemon II, Ichikawa Ebizō III, and Ichimura Uzaemon IX in the Play Sugawara’s Secrets of Calligraphy (Sugawara denju tenarai kagami)
Katsukawa Shunshō (Japanese, 1726–1792)
Edo period (1615–1868)
7th month, 1776
One sheet of a triptych of polychrome woodblock prints; ink and color on paper
Overall: 12 5/8 x 17 7/16 in. (32.1 x 44.3 cm); Image: 12 3/4 x 5 7/8 in. (32.4 x 14.9 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1918
Not on view
This dramatic scene known as "Pulling the Carriage Apart" (Kuruma-biki), was performed at Ichimura Theater, in August 1776. Ichikawa Ebizo (Danjuro IV), seated on the ground in front of the cart at the right, acted as the character Matsuo-maru, one of three brother retainers. In the play the brothers, who serve different masters, experience conflict between loyalty to their family and loyalty to their lords.
This was Danjuro IV's retirement performance at the age of sixty-five. Shunshō indicated his age with wrinkles on his left cheek.
Signature: Shunsho ga
Frank Lloyd Wright American, Richland Center, Wisconsin 1867–1959 Phoenix, Arizona , Richland Center, WI and Phoenix, AZ (before 1918; sold to MMA)