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Utagawa Yoshiiku, Actor Kawarazaki Gonjuro I as Shibaraku

Utagawa Yoshiiku, 1833-1904

Actor Kawarazaki Gonjuro I in the role of Shibaraku

signed Yoshiiku shasei (drawn from nature), with artist's Kiri seal, publisher's seal Terifuricho, Ebisuya (Ebisuya Shoshichi of Kinshodo), combined censor and date seal Saru-ju, aratame (year of the monkey [1860], 10th month, examined)

oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 9 5/8 in., 36.5 by 24.6 cm

This bust-portrait depicts the actor Kawarazaki Gonjuro I (Danjuro IX, 1838-1903) in the Shibaraku role, juxtaposed with an inset panel labeled Danjuro babaa, depicting his father, Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859) who had passed away the previous year. Presenting Gonjuro in the Shibaraku costume, a role closely associated with the Danjuro name, with his father looking on from above, implies that Gonjuro will be adopting the Danjuro name soon, and the poem by Kanagaki Robun makes reference to the 9th, which would be his place in the line. Although his older brother had already taken the name in in 1832 at the young age of only 8, Danjuro VIII (1823-1854) committed suicide six years earlier, predeceasing his father by five years. It was several more years before Gonjuro finally adopted the Danjuro name in 1874.