Torii Kiyomasu II
Segawa Kikunojō I in the Dance Play Momochidori Musume Dōjōji

Signed: eshi Torii Kiyomasu hitsu; Publisher: Urokogataya hanmoto and logo, hosoban, 30.0 x 14.5 cm; urushi-e with karazuri and metallic pigments

The female impersonator Segawa Kikunojō is dancing in front of the bell tower of a temple in the role of Kiyohime, while her former lover, a young temple priest, is hiding under the bell. Disappointed in love, Kiyohime turns into a demon and destroys her lover and the bell. The caption states “Segawa Kikunojō [was a] great success in the 2nd Act of Dōjōji.”

Provenance: Hotel Drouot, Paris (May 1963);
James Michener (?)
Riese Collection #12

Musume Dōjōji was a popular Kabuki dance drama derived from a Nō play in which a young woman disguises herself as a temple dancer to gain access to a temple where her former lover, a young priest, is concealed beneath the temple bell. She performs a long dance which puts her audience to sleep, and in the final climax transforms herself into a serpent destroying both bell and faithless lover. Many versions of the play were performed; this one prefixed with the poetic words “Hundred Plovers” (Momochidori), the little birds which can be seen sporting among the waves on the actor’s sleeve.

Reproduced in Ingelheim catalogue, no. 18.