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Kunichika Actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX

Toyohara Kunichika, 1835-1900

Fashionable Modern Clothing: The Actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Fuwa Banzaemon
(Tosei gata zokui zoroi: Ichikawa Danjuro, Fuwa Banzaemon)

with a dusting of mica on the mirror, signed Toyohara Kunichika hitsu with red Toshidama seal, with block carver seal Hori-mori, published by Kodama Matashichi, ca. 1885

oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 9 1/4 in., 35.9 by 23.6 cm

The bold calligraphy in the background includes the name of the actor, Ichikawa (Danjuro IX, 1838-1903), one of the most important kabuki actors of the Meiji Period (1868-1912) who is credited, in part, with revitalizing and redefining the theater for the modern era. The role, Fuwa Banzaemon, was first performed in 1680 by Ichikawa Danjuro I (1660-1704, his great-great-great-great grandfather) and involves the first and most famous sayaate (rivalry in love) scene in which two hanamachi (lit' 'flower path'- walkway from the back of the theater) are needed for an exciting simultaneous entrance of both lovers.

References:
Amy Reigle Newland, Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika, 1999, p. 120, cat. no. 95 (for another print in this series)
Robert Schaap, Kunisada: Imaging Drama and Beauty, 2016, p. 98, no. 81 (for a 1836 bust portrait by Kunisada of Danjuro VII, this actor's father, in the same role)
Tokyo Metropolitan Library, acquisition no. N160-018
Waseda University Theatre Museum, acquisition nos. 007-2431 and 201-3813

$1,100