Artist: Katsukawa Shun'ei (勝川春英)

Print: Nakamura Nakazō I [中村仲蔵] in a kabuki role

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Dates: 1780s,created
Dimensions: 5.5 in,11.625 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Shunei ga (春英画)

Related links: Art Institute Chicago - Shunshō print of Nakazō I with both of the actor's crests;

Physical description:

This actor's specialty was playing arch-villains. His identifiable crests appear twice on his garments. On the green robe with the rope motif his crest appears as a circle toward the top with something akin to a double-vajra within. On the other robe is a three part repeating pattern which looks like our letter 'h'. This could easily be confused for a faux-Genji mon, but it is definitely one of this actors crests.

Both of these crests appear on more than one Shunshō print of this actor dating from ca. 1768. There are at least two examples in the Chicago Art Institute.


The clue to the identity of the role being played here will be found in locating another robe with this prominent rope motif. So far we have been unable to find another one like it, but hold out hope that one day we shall find one just like it or, at least, somewhat similar.