Sharaku

Ōtani Oniji III as Yakko Edobei (1794) - Canvas Black Frame

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About the Art

Hunched and grimacing, the character of Yakko Edobei glares menacingly into the distance. This piece is taken from the play "The Colored Reins of a Loving Wife", a Kabuki play that was originally written for ‘Bunraku’, or puppet theatre.

The story is one of a forbidden love between a courtesan and one of Lord Umanosuke’s retainers. A 'Yakko' refers to a samurai’s footman, and is a common character in Kabuki dramas used to assist the quest of the hero or villain. Featuring multiple sub-plots, this play has undergone many adaptations in an attempt at simplifying its storyline. It is reported that Harusuke, an accomplished playwright who adapted the original story, was so enraged by the play’s poor construction that he attacked his co-writer with a knife.

Sharaku is known for his incredibly realistic illustrations. Unlike many kabuki specialists, Sharaku was fascinated by the person behind the mask; the actors themselves. In an attempt at gaining psychological realism, he ignored his contemporaries who seeked to flatter the kabuki actors. In fact, Sharaku even exaggerated their facial features. Sharaku’s ‘warts-and-all’ method of designing received bad reception and offended many actors of the time. Although he created nearly 150 incredible prints, his working life as an artist spanned a period of only ten months before he seemingly disappeared, and there is no evidence of Sharaku having had training with any ukiyo-e masters. In Japan he’s named the “enigmatic ukiyo-e master” and Sharaku’s life is still very much a mystery.

Our new canvas prints are are professionally framed creating an elegant and upscale look ready to hang right out of the box.  No more unfinished raw canvas wrapped edges. You have the best of both a beautifully crafted wood frame and the texture of canvas"

Our new canvas prints are are professionally framed creating an elegant and upscale look ready to hang right out of the box.  No more unfinished raw canvas wrapped edges. You have the best of both a beautifully crafted wood frame and the texture of canvas

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    • Arrives ready-to-hang
      • Mounting brackets included and centered on frame
    • Premium quality look and feel
      • Printed using the Giclee printing process, the standard for precise prints with stunning culors.
    • Made to last, even in bright/sunny rooms
      • Fade resistant canvas, matte finish

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