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Perspective Print of the Interior of the Nakamura Theater Featuring the Amakawa Scene of The Treasury of Loyal Retainers

Accession Number
2011/2.200

Title
Perspective Print of the Interior of the Nakamura Theater Featuring the Amakawa Scene of The Treasury of Loyal Retainers

Artist(s)
Torii Kiyotsune

Object Creation Date
circa 1760

Medium & Support
woodblock print on pa[er

Dimensions
12 in x 17 1/2 in (30.48 cm x 44.45 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Sharlynn and Andrew Circo, in memory of Sotokichi Katsuizumi

Subject matter
This print shows the interior of the Nakamura-za Theater in Edo (Tokyo).  It was one of three kabuki theaters in Edo and home to many famous kabuki actors.  According to early accounts, it opened in 1624.  After several turbulent decades, it finally closed in 1893.
 
The Treasury of Loyal Retainers is one of the most popular kabuki plays, with a plot known to English audiences as The Forty-seven Ronin.  Purportedly based on real events surrounding the Asano family, the play recounts the crime and punishment of Enya Hangan (Asano Naganori) and the revenge taken by Hangan’s retainers.  In the scene depicted, the Amakawa Scene, Hangan's retainers test the loyalty of the merchant Gihei by pretending to be police.  Gihei, who is helping the retainers procure weapons, remains faithful to them, and in gratitude the retainers use his trade name "Amakawa" as their battle cry.  This scene was often performed as a stand-alone rather than with the entire Treasury of Loyal Retainers play.

Physical Description
This print depicts the interior of a theater. Several actors move about the set at the top of the print. Individuals in the audience are minutely detailed. Near the left of the stage, a pair of half-naked men brawl while an actor chides them from above. Near the bottom of the image, several in the audience smoke long pipes. A man holds the hand of a child on a raised platform near the bottom left of the print.

Inscriptions: Nishimura and unidentified others (​Publisher's seal); Torii Kiyotsune ga (Artist's signature)
 

Primary Object Classification
Print

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
actors (performing artists)
audiences
plays (performed works)
theater spaces

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved