Kabuki scene under a willow, um 1775
About the object
The artist Katsukawa Shunsho established a new form of portraiture in which the depicted actors could be identified by their facial features and various hints hidden in the picture. Only an initiated circle of Kabuki connoisseurs were able do this. Depicted here are the actors Nakamura Nakazo I (1736-1790) and Ichikawa Danjuro ??V (1741-1806). The upright figure, Nakazo I, who is recognisable by his facial features, grabs the hair of the seated Danjuro ??V - recognisable by the family crest on the kimono - with one hand, while holding a sandal in the other.