Jul 7, 2014

Iwai Hanshirō IV as a Woman with a Sword

Iwai Hanshirō IV as a Woman with a Sword



Katsukawa Shunei 勝川 春英

(Japanese, 1762–1819)

Color woodblock print

Sheet: 31.5 x 14 cm (12 3/8 x 5 1/2 in.)

Gift from J. H. Wade 1921.1287



In this unidentified role, Iwai Hanshirō IV is costumed as a woman with long flowing hair, wielding a sword. Men of the Edo period shaved their head from the forehead back to the crown, leaving the side and back hair long, though tied in an updo. Even after the practice was abandoned for Kabuki theater actors specializing in female roles, they kept the custom of concealing the area that would once have been bare, so Hanshirō has a murasaki no bōshi (紫の帽子), or purple headband, attached to his wig.

See also
Japanese Art
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Gift from J. H. Wade

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