Figure of a Kabuki Dancer

Artist/maker unknown, Japanese

Geography:
Made in Kyoto, Yamashiro Province, Japan, Asia

Period:
Edo Period (1615-1868)

Date:
c. 1850

Medium:
Glazed porcelain with overglaze enamel and gilt decoration

Dimensions:
18 1/8 x 8 9/16 inches (46.1 x 21.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1904-683

Credit Line:
Bequest of Edward S. Clarke, 1904

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Label:
This 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.