Sharaku fan ID'd at Greek museum

Kyodo News

A Greek museum of Asian art has been displaying what was recently confirmed to be a rare painting by 18th-century ukiyo-e artist Toshusai Sharaku, an international research mission said Monday.

Mission members, including Tadashi Kobayashi, a Gakushuin University professor, appraised the fan-shaped painting in late July and determined it was drawn by the mysterious Edo Period artist.

The roughly 50-cm-wide fan depicts a scene with kabuki actors Matsumoto Koshiro IV and Matsumoto Yonesaburo and bears Sharaku’s signature and personal mark.

It has been kept at the Museum of Asian Art on the island of Corfu.

Judging from records, the scene is believed to be from a performance of “Kanadehon Chushingura,” a play about revenge, in May 1795, according to the mission.

Sharaku was an unknown until he abruptly emerged as an ukiyo-e artist in 1794 in Edo, which is now part of Tokyo. He disappeared after he released about 140 ukiyo-e prints in only 10 months through early 1795.