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The actors of Kabuki theatre represented as Tachibina, the dolls for Girl's Day
17665 I
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History of the Object
The artists published special prints with portraits of popular actors on occasions of various holidays for enthusiasts of Kabuki theatre. This print was published on the occasion of the third day of the third month of the lunar calendar, that is the Girls‘ day, or Hina matsuri. An essential article of this holiday was a dolls' display. Traditionally the dolls represented the members of the emperor’s family The dolls of the emperor and his consort were stationed at the uppermost shelf; below them were ladies-in-waiting, musicians, guards, toy meals, utensils, furniture, and wooden cart. Toy replicas of tangerine and peach trees were put at the lowest shelf. In poor families paper dolls or scrolls and prints with their images could substitute an expensive set of dolls. Tachibina is one of the most ancient types of Japanese dolls, their prototype being flat paper figures used in the rituals of purification, curing the hoodoo and malefice. The tradition of making such dolls came to Japan from China, that‘s why tachibina are depicted in ancient ceremonial attire. As a rule, the doll of the emperor is larger than the doll of his consort. The print represents popular actors of Kabuki theatre Bando Hikosaburo V (1832—1877) and Sawamura Tossyo II (1845—1878) in the guise of the dolls of the emperor and empress in ceremonial dress of the Heian period (794—1185). Such block printings could be cut and glued to scrolls” mounts of cloth and straw. The artist gives a slight hint about that, placing the characters on the whitish field with spots resembling droplets of golden foil. Ornamental border imitating the edge of scroll's framing is depicted on the upper and lower parts of the sheet.

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Type
Print 
Materials
Paper colour woodblock print 
Measurements
35,8x24,7 cm 
Creator name
Utagawa Kunisada 
Creator date
1786 - 1864 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
1863 
Function
 
Acquisition
 
Copyright
The State Museum of Oriental Art 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
 
Museum
The State Museum of Oriental Art 
Credit line
 

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