Artist: Torii Kiyotada IV (四代目鳥居清忠)

Print: An actor as the Wisteria Maiden (Fuji Musume - ふじ娘)

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Dates: circa 1938,created
Dimensions: 11.25 in,17.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Kiyotada hitsu (清忠筆)

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Physical description:

This print is from a series of 24 published between 1938-40. Printed with a mica background.


"The Wisteria Maiden was originally one of five dances performed one after the other in rapid sequence by the same dancer who effected multiple quick changes of costume, wig, and makeup. These transformation dances (hengemono) were very popular in nineteenth-century kabuki and exhibited the virtuosity of the actor- dancers. The entire dance from which Wisteria Maiden derives was known as Ōtsu of the Ever-Returning Farewells (Kaesu Gaesu Nagori no Ōtsu). It featured characters that appeared in the popular, naive folk pictures known as Ōtsu-e (Ōtsu pictures), which were sold in the Ōtsu region to tourists visiting the area around Lake Biwa. In the original dance, Seki Sanjūrō II (1786-1839) performed as five different characters: the wisteria maiden, the god of calligraphy, a footman (yakko), a boatman, and a blind man. The only dance that has survived is the first, Wisteria Maiden."

Quoted from: Kabuki Plays on Stage: Darkness and Desire, 1804 - 1864, volume 3, p. 166.