Figure of a Kabuki Dancer

Artist/maker unknown, Japanese

Made in Kyoto, Yamashiro Province, Japan, Asia

Edo Period (1615-1868)

c. 1850

Glazed porcelain with overglaze enamel and gilt decoration

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:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Edward S. Clarke, 1904

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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.