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Title

The Actor Arashi Sangoro_ Performing the "Catching the Fox" Dance: Gallery Label - Current

Author

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Date

2006-05-30

Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Torii Kiyonobu is considered the founder of the Torii school, whose artists were among the earliest to depict Kabuki actors in a new, robust style. In this lively painting, Kiyonobu depicts the famous actor Arashi Sangoro_ in the kyo_gen play Tsurigitsune ("Catching the Fox"). The Japanese believe foxes capable of changing themselves into human form to beguile unsuspecting humans. According to the story, an old fox changes into a priest to escape being hunted. He audaciously reminds the hunter about the Buddhist commandments against taking life and eating meat, and the ruse seems to work. On the way home, however, the "priest" encounters a baited trap and cannot resist the enticing smell of roasted rat. He transforms back into a fox, takes the food, and is caught. Here, Sangoro_ performs the transformation dance. He wears a fox mask on the back of his head, allowing him to shift between man and fox simply by turning one way or the other. Kiyonobu also shows the actor dressed in the colorful robes of a dandy rather than the solemn vestments of a priest.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 11, 2009