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Toyohara Kunichika, Actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX

Toyohara Kunichika, 1835-1900

Actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Minister Kibi
(Ichikawa Danjuro, Kibi Daijin)

signed Oju (by order) Toyohara Kunichika ga, with artist's seal Ichio Kunichika, publisher's seal Ningyocho, Gusokuya (Gusokuya Kahei), dated Meiji hachi gogatsu (Meiji 8 [1875], May)

oban tate-e diptych 13 7/8 by 19 1/4 in., 35.4 by 48.9 cm

The actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903) is in the role of Minister Kibi, from the play, Kibi Daijin Shina monogatari (Minister Kibi, Tale of China) written by Kawatake Mokuami (1816-1893) which was an adaption of an older play titled Kinu Gyokuto Wakoku no Irifune (The Golden Crow, the Jade Rabbit, and the Ship tat Arrives from Japan). Both plays are centered on the historical minister Kibi no Makibi (965-775), who in 716 joined a mission to the Tang Court in China to study, and upon his return in 735 was said to have brought back numerous Chinese texts, the game of go, the biwa, the art of embroidery, and secrets of the Chinese almanac. The descriptive text is about Danjuro IX and the play.

Reference:
Waseda University Theatre Museum (enpaku.waseda.ac.jp), accession nos. 201-5498 & 201-5499, 100-3056 & 100-3057

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