Important Cultural PropertyOkuni Kabuki Screen

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  • Six-panel folding screen
  • Height 88.0cm Width 268.0cm
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • A甲546

This screen may have been painted around 1603 (Keichô 8), when Okuni of Izumo (now Shimane Prefecture) led a dance troupe of women to perform kabuki odori (“eccentric dances”) on the Noh stage at Kitano Shrine in Kyoto. The painting depicts the performance of the popular Okuni kabuki play, Chaya asobi (“Amusement at the Teahouse”), with the central character holding a sword, a comical performer with a towel around her head, and the teashop owner sitting by the right pillar. The instrumental accompaniment includes flute and drums but not shamisen, indicating an early period of kabuki.
The composition and rendering of pine trees are similar to the screen paintings at Myôren-ji Temple, strongly suggesting that this work belongs to the genre paintings of the Hasegawa school.