East Asian Art
Figure of a Kabuki DancerMade in Kyoto, Yamashiro Province, Japan, Asia
Edo Period (1615-1868), c. 1850
Artist/maker unknown, Japanese
Glazed porcelain with overglaze enamel and gilt decoration
Currently not on view
1904-683Bequest of Edward S. Clarke, 1904
LabelThis porcelain figurine represents a female dancer from the Kabuki theater. Okuni, a purported priestess of the Izumo shrine and the legendary founder of Kabuki, shocked audiences with her sexually suggestive dances at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Kabuki performances by women were soon banned in Japan, however, and from 1629 on, male actors performed both male and female roles.