Sawamura Sōjūrō II and Ōtani Hiroji III, 1768

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This print depicts a scene from a Kabuki play performed in 1768. The plot is based on a folktale about an old woman who lived in an isolated house. She kindly offers lost travelers a place to rest, but murders them in the night. Sawamura Sōjñrō II is shown playing the role of the evil old woman, who grabs the topknot of a warrior, played by Ōtani Hiroji III. With his sword unsheathed, the warrior tries to defend himself from her unexpected attack. Sōjñrō II, who was tall and graceful, did not typically play old women. Nonetheless, as described here by Shunshō with contorted arms and disheveled hair, he played the role to terrifying effect.

Sawamura Sōjūrō II and Ōtani Hiroji III
Artist Life
1726 - 1793
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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