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Why Are We Named Mie Gallery?

The most striking pose in Kabuki theatre is the “nirami” or crosseyed glare. This glare marks a highpoint of the performance. It's like the climax in a movie, all attention is on the lead actor - the camera zooms in and fixes on their dramatic expression. It is no wonder that many artists depicted this crosseyed glare in their Yakusha-e or actor prints. Like that momentary glare, frozen in time, we have curated woodblock prints that we find artistically compelling. 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The mie (見え or 見得, Japanese pronunciation: [mi.eꜜ]), a powerful and emotional pose struck[1] by an actor, who then freezes for a moment, is a distinctive element of aragoto Kabuki performance. Mie means 'appearance' or 'visible' in Japanese, and one of the primary purposes of this convention is to draw attention to a particularly important or powerful portion of the performance. It is meant to show a character's emotions at their peak, and can often be a very powerful pose. The actor's eyes are opened as wide as possible; if the character is meant to seem agitated or angry, the actor will cross his eyes. In Japanese, the mie pose is said to be "cut" by the actor (見得を切る, mie wo kiru). Audience members will shout out (kakegoe) words of praise and the actor's name at specific times before and after the pose is struck.

The practice of mie is said to have originated with Ichikawa Danjūrō I in the Genroku era, along with the aragoto style itself. There are a great many mie, each of which has a name describing it, and many of which are associated with particular lines of actors.

In the Genroku mie, one of the most famous or well-known, the actor's right hand is held flat, perpendicular to the ground, while his left hand is pointed upwards, elbow bent. At the same time, the actor stamps the floor powerfully with his left foot. This mie is most strongly associated with the character Kamakura Gongorō Kagemasa, the hero of the play Shibaraku, and is said to have been invented by Ichikawa Danjūrō I.


What Do We Believe?

We believe it is more important to own an original woodblock print, from the first printing or at least while the artist was still alive, than a pristine reprint by a later publisher. Even if the quality of an original print is low, the authenticity and provenance trumps the quality of a reprint. In fact, a worn print tells the most interesting story, was it stored in an album or a chest, passed down from parent to child, thumbed through on idle evenings, made it through floods, fires and wars, shared, purchased and repurchased multiple times? A pristine print, is just that, beautiful but - no human story to tell.



How We Price Our Japanese Woodblock Prints

Mie Gallery has hundreds of woodblock prints that are for sale. We have attempted to provide background information and links to online references wherever possible. You will probably find our prints to be priced lower than many galleries and auction houses.

We price our prints based on four factors, overall print quality, print edition, artist, and what we paid for the print. Many of our prints are priced below larger galleries and sellers because we managed to purchase them at a low cost - we pass that on to you. If there's a particular print you are looking for, enter it's name into Google and (if you can find it) see how much it's selling for from other sources - compare that to our pricing and we think you'll see a savings. We believe it’s possible for anyone to collect and enjoy original, affordable woodblock prints.

We accept online payments via PayPal and Credit Card. We also accept crypto currencies - please contact us for more information on how to purchase with Ethereum or Bitcoin. You can buy our original designed shirts and stickers at our T-Shirt Shop

We welcome helpful comments and additional information from Ukiyo-e collectors. Please contact us if you have a question or comment.

Happy Collecting!

Richard Parr
Gallery Curator and Collector