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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.
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 an 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 , 1885