An extremely rare roiro lacquer four-case inro By Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923), early 20th century
Lot 310
An extremely rare roiro lacquer four-case inro By Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923), early 20th century
Sold for £92,400 (US$ 148,290) inc. premium

Lot Details
An extremely rare roiro lacquer four-case inro By Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923), early 20th century An extremely rare roiro lacquer four-case inro By Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923), early 20th century An extremely rare roiro lacquer four-case inro By Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923), early 20th century
An extremely rare roiro lacquer four-case inro
By Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923), early 20th century
Finely lacquered in gold, rogin and iroe togidashi with details of e-nashiji and kirikane, depicting a full-length portrait of the Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX in a Shibaraku role, brandishing a fan, the fantastically large square sleeves of the extravagant costume continuing on the reserve, the interior of rich nashiji; signed with seal Shosai.
7.3cm (2 7/8in).

Footnotes

  • 市川団十郎「暫」図蒔絵印籠 銘「松哉(方印)」 20世紀前期

    Provenance: Dave Swedlow collection, sold at Sotheby's London 1972.
    Purchased from Eskenazi Ltd., London, 1988.
    Wrangham Collection no.1905.

    Published: E.A. Wrangham, The Index of Inro Artists, p.255, Shosai, the first row, second from right.

    See Jan Dees, Japanese Lacquer Artist, Shirayama Shosai (1853-1923), Arts of Asia magazine, March-April 2002, pp.92-104. In this article, the author lists only ten known inro by the artist. Appointed a Teishitsu gigein (Imperial Court Artist) in 1906, he is one of the most important lacquer artists of the Taisho period. Shosai's works of art are as highly valued as the work of the celebrated Shibata Zeshin but they are much rarer.

    The Shibaraku scene is the ultimate confrontation between good and evil in Kabuki, and the most perfect display of the bombastic, stylised aragoto (rough stuff) acting style associated with the Ichikawa Danjuro line of actors. First performed by Danjuro I in 1697, it became obligatory from the early 18th century to include the scene in the opening-of-the-season (kaomise) productions held at every theatre in the 11th month of the year.

    The actor portrayed here is probably Danjuro IX who would be contemporary with the lacquer artist Shirayama Shosai. He is wearing the characteristic Shibaraku costume: red-streaked sujiguma makeup, radiating 'cartwheel' wig, black lacquer court headdress (eboshi), pleated white paper 'strength' hair ornaments and a voluminous, distinctive persimmon red ceremonial jacket (suo) over armour.
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