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Toyohara Kunichika, 1835-1900
Actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII Memorial Portrait
unsigned, ca. 1859, after the 3rd month
oban tate-e diptych 14 by 19 1/4 in., 35.7 by 48.8 cm
This is a shini-e (memorial portrait) for the great kabuki actor, Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859). At the upper right is the date of his burial, Ansei 6, , 3rd month, 24th day, the day after his death on the 23rd. His posthumous Buddhist name is given along with the location of the burial, followed by a long inscription about his life. In the upper right inset panel there is a portrait of his great-great-great grandfather, the first Ichikawa Danjuro (1660-1704), with his head positioned at an angle that mirrors that of Danjuro VII and emphasizes the familial resemblance and the lineage of kabuki royalty. In the inset panel on the upper left is an image of Danjuro VIII (1823-1854), his son, who predeceased him by 4 years by way of suicide. As with many shini-e, this print is not signed but the depiction of Danjuro VII and Danjuro VIII's faces appears to be in the style of Toyohara Kunichika.
Waseda University Theatre Museum (enpaku.waseda.ac.jp), accession nos. 114-0330 and 114-0332 (attributed to Kunichika)