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Head of Japanese male actor in female role, c. 1787-88 (woodblock print)

Head of Japanese male actor in female role, c. 1787-88 (woodblock print)


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Head of Japanese male actor in female role, c. 1787-88 (woodblock print)

PNP365602 Head of Japanese male actor in female role, c.1787-88 (woodblock print) by Shuncho, Katsukawa (fl.1783-1821); Private Collection; Peter Newark Pictures; Japanese, out of copyright

Media ID 22950454

© Peter Newark Pictures / Bridgeman Images

Acting Cross Dressing Make Up Tranny Transvestite


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EDITORS COMMENTS
This woodblock print from the late 18th century showcases the head of a Japanese male actor in a female role, skillfully depicted by Shuncho Katsukawa. The artist's attention to detail is evident in the intricate portrayal of the actor's hair, make-up, and headdress, which all contribute to his transformation into a convincing female character. The print offers a glimpse into the world of traditional Japanese theater and its unique performance practices. In this particular image, we witness an example of cross-dressing or "onnagata" where male actors would assume female roles on stage. This practice was not only accepted but celebrated as an art form during this time period. The print captures the essence of this theatrical tradition with remarkable precision and artistic flair. It serves as a testament to both Shuncho Katsukawa's talent as well as the rich cultural heritage that influenced his work. Displayed against a neutral background, this striking image invites viewers to appreciate not only its aesthetic beauty but also reflect upon broader themes such as gender identity and societal norms within historical contexts. Bridgeman Images has preserved this extraordinary piece through their extensive collection, allowing us to delve deeper into Japan's vibrant artistic past while appreciating its relevance even today.

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