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Artist: Shin'ei (新栄)

Print: Nakamura Utaemon V as the nurse Masaoka
of the Date clan in the play Meiboku Sendai Hagi

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Dates: 1920s,created
Dimensions: 10.25 in,15.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Shin'ei hitsu (新栄筆)
Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi (?)

Related links: Waseda University; Kabuki21; Waseda University - 1949 Ota Masamitsu print of Utaemon V as Masaoka; Lyon Collection - Shunsen print of Nikki Danjō;

Physical description:

"Masaoka, the heroic nurse of the infant prince from the play Meiboku Sendai hagi (The Disputed Succession). Masaoka is largely responsible for foiling an attempted coup, led by the wicked Nikki Danjo. She allows her own son Senmatsu to eat poisoned cakes that Lady Yoshio (one of the coup plotters) had meant for the prince, and subsequently watches as Lady Yashio murders the child before the poison could take effect and reveal her treachery. Masaoka exacts revenge on the plotters, killing Lady Yashio and stealing a scroll which lists everyone involved in the coup."

Quoted from an entry at Scholten Japanese Art.

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The print in the Lyon Collection has the signature in the upper right corner. The one at Waseda University is along the center right edge. The publisher's seal is in the same location in both - the lower left edge. We cannot account for the differences.

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If you enlarge the image of this print sufficiently you will notice that there is a special piece of dark purple cloth attached to the front of the actor's wig. This is referred to as a Murasaki boshi. Murasaki means purple.

This is "A silk cloth worn by an onnagata at the top of the forehead where the shaved forelocks would have been. Often the cloth is purple, but not always. Cautionary note: Not all onnagata are portrayed on prints wearing this cloth."