Japanese Works : (Shibai fūzoku) Ehon Sakaegusa

Japanese Works

<p style='text-align: justify;'> (Shibai fūzoku) Ehon Sakaegusa ((戯場風俗)絵本栄家種). Illustrated by Kitao Shigemasa 北尾重政, and published by Yamazaki Kinbei 山崎金兵衛 in 1771.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>This work depicts scenes related to the kabuki theatre in three thin but heavily illustrated volumes. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(24);return false;'>Actors</a>, <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(8);return false;'>patrons</a>, and neighboring <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(19);return false;'>shopkeepers</a> all make their appearances. The final volume includes a <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(25);return false;'>chart of actors' seals and names</a>. It concludes with a <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(29);return false;'>colophon</a> with the names of the artist and publisher (right) and an advertisement for other picture books by the publisher (left). Another copy of this theatrical work is held by the British Museum: <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://tinyurl.com/hzp72ac'>volume 1</a>, <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://tinyurl.com/zqlg92v'>volume 2</a> and <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://tinyurl.com/zzolnjx'>volume 3</a>.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>The <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(1);return false;'>titleslip</a> on the cover of this book has the title as it appears above, (戯場風俗)絵本栄家種. However, the <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(2);return false;'>preface</a> includes a variant written form for Sakaegusa, 三家栄種. <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://base1.nijl.ac.jp/infolib/meta_pub/G0001401KTG'>The Union Catalogue of Early Japanese Books</a> (日本古典籍総合目録) follows the preface in transcribing the latter part of the title: 三家栄種. The version on the titleslip refers to a prosperous house or houses, and the variant uses a pun to reference three prosperous houses, the three main kabuki theatres of Edo.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>The union catalogue also lists 3 copies of a 1790 work that shares the same main title, <i>Ehon Sakaegusa</i> (絵本栄家種). There are additional copies of the later work in Belgium, Germany, and the United States. However, comparison of the Cambridge and British Museum editions with photographs of the Ehon Sakaegusa held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16028coll7/id/2341'>JIB29a_001</a>) demonstrate that the 1790 and 1771 editions are completely separate works.</p>




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