Figure of Kyogen performer in role of Sambaso

citation

Buff clay. Hand formed, hollow.
Incised and stamped designs on costume. Square seal “Rakurakuen-sei” (product of Rakurakuen) impressed near hem of garment, on proper right side of figure.
Yellow ash glaze on garment and feet; bluish clear glaze on face; iron glaze on cap and in pupils of eyes.

Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1840-1860
Medium
Stoneware with wood-ash, iron, and clear glazes
Style
Rakurakuen ware
Dimensions
H x W x D: 46.5 x 28.3 x 28.3 cm (18 5/16 x 11 1/8 x 11 1/8 in)
Geography
Japan, Tokyo, Rakurakuen kiln, Ichigaya, Shinjuku-ku
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
F1901.78
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Sculpture
Type

Figure: Sambaso

Keywords
actor, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, Noh, portrait, Rakurakuen ware
Provenance

Collection of Ninagawa Noritane (1835-1882), Kyoto [1]

To 1901
Siegfried Bing (1838-1905), Paris to 1901 [2]

From 1901 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Siegfried Bing, Paris in 1901 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]

Notes:

[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 957, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

[4] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Ninagawa Noritane 1835 - 1882
Siegfried Bing (C.L. Freer source) 1838 - 1905
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Description

Buff clay. Hand formed, hollow.
Incised and stamped designs on costume. Square seal "Rakurakuen-sei" (product of Rakurakuen) impressed near hem of garment, on proper right side of figure.
Yellow ash glaze on garment and feet; bluish clear glaze on face; iron glaze on cap and in pupils of eyes.

Marking(s)

Square seal "Rakurakuen-sei" (product of Rakurakuen) impressed near hem of garment, on proper right side of figure.

Label

The figure represents Sambaso, one of the three characters in the No play Okina, which originated in ancient fold beliefs and prayers for a bountiful harvest. The play always came first in a program of No plays, and was performed on felicitous occasions such as the New Year. In the performance the handsome young man Senzai danced first, and was followed by the god of longevity, Okina, who wore the bearded white mask of an old man. Then came Sambaso, who danced twice, first without a mask and then wearing a black version of the Okina mask. In contrast to the mysterious solemnity of Okina's dance, both of Sambaso's dances were lively and comical.
This figure is identified by its costume (with designs of cranes and pine seedlings, connoting longevity and new life), active posture with right arm upraised and left arm outstretched (probably once holding a dance fan), and facial expression representing Sambaso as he performed his first dance, when he chants the ancient cries of "yo, hon, ho!" The figure was probably meant to be displayed in the alcove of a formal drawing room at the New Year. Freer acquired this figure from the Paris dealer Siegfried Bing (1838-1905), who was famous for supporting art nouveau and promoting Japanese antiques in Europe.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics (Toyo Toji Taikan): The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. pl. 209.
  • Louise Allison Cort. Seto and Mino Ceramics. Washington and Honolulu, 1992. cat. 81, p. 40.
  • Impressions: The Journal of the Japanese Art Society of America. no. 39 Lexington, MA, 2018. p. 146, fig. 19.
  • Warren E. Cox. The Book of Pottery and Porcelain. 2 vols., New York. p. 244, pl. 77.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum