ehon banzuke 絵本番付
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also called shibai ezoushi 芝居絵双紙 or shibai ehon 芝居絵本. Illustrated woodblock printed programs for *Kabuki 歌舞伎 which were published in the Edo period. Ehon banzuke were first published in 1742 (having been been preceded by similar booklets illustrating kabuki kyougen 歌舞伎狂言, called *eiri kyougenbon 絵入狂言本), and by the Kan'en 寛延 era (1748-51) their form had been standardized. After a play had appeared, the ehon banzuke was sold at the theater teahouse along with the cast list yakuwari banzuke 役割番付. Related programs would also be sold at booksellers ezoushiya 絵草子屋. The programs functioned as both explanation and advertising for the plays.
Until the Houreki 宝暦 era (1751-64) the covers *hyoushi 表紙 of examples produced in Edo were black with the play title and the crest mon 紋 of the theater imposed. Inside there were pictures of scenes from the play, along with the names of the roles, the actors' names, and commentary on the acting and the performers. The actors' crest would be drawn on their clothing so as to distinguish one actor from another. This Edo type was produced until 1878. The Kyoto-Osaka ehon banzuke had a thick, grey-colored paper cover with a title slip *daisen 題簽 in the center containing the title of the play and the name of the theater. The program also had a color woodblock printed cover slip or bag fukuro 袋 on which an important scene from the play was illustrated. There were also covers which were printed in color with a type of stencil known as *kappazuri 合羽摺, and these remained popular until the programs ceased to be produced. The contents of the Kyoto ehon banzuke would deal with every scene of the play as well as the names of the roles, the actors' names and commentary on their acting. The style of the pictures employed the bird's-eye viewpoint using the blown-away roof *fukinuki yatai 吹抜屋台 method which had long been part of Japanese compositional design.
In works from the An'ei 安永 (1772-81) to the Kansei 寛政 (1789-1801) eras, the print designers' names were written on the programs. Artists who produced ehon banzuke included the Katsukawa artists *Katsukawaha 勝川派, Katsukawa Shunkou 勝川春好 (1743-1812), Shun'ei 春英 (1762-1819), and Shunjou 春常 (?-1787), as well as the Torii artists *Toriiha 鳥居派, Torii Kiyonaga 鳥居清長 (1752-1815) and Kiyotsume 清経 (fl. 1757-79). Toyomaru 豊丸 (Shunrou 2 二代春郎; fl. 1785-97) and Masayoshi 政美 (Kuwagata Keisai 鍬形けい斎; 1764-1824) also designed illustrations for ehon banzuke.


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