Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Three Kabuki Actors Playing Hanetsuki

Utagawa Kuniyasu (Japanese, 1794–1834)
Edo period (1615–1868)
ca. 1823
Triptych of polychrome woodblock prints (surimono); ink and color on paper
Triptych, each: 7 1/4 x 8 3/8 in. (18.4 x 21.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Jack Greene Gift, 2001
Accession Number:
Not on view
Compared to his teacher, Utagawa Toyokuni, Kuniyasu portrayed actors with more angular, sharp-edged lines, particularly in the treatment of facial details.

This rare surimono triptych was produced in honor of the New Year. Three actors play the badminton-like game called hanetsuki, a traditional New Year's activity. Humorous poems by contemporary poets are inscribed throughout the three sheets.
Signature: Each sheet bears the artist's signature Ippōsai Kuniyasu ga ("painted by Ichiyūsai Kuniyasu").
[ Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. , New York, until 2001; sold to MMA].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," July 2, 2005–November 29, 2005.

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