Shini-e - Literally meaning "death prints," shini-e are a category of Japanese woodblock commemorating the death of a famous kabuki actor, or less commonly, an artist or musician. These memorial portraits often depict the actor dressed in light blue death robes, or portraying a famous role associated with the individual. Some include verses or death poems along with the actor's age and date of death, or a posthumous Buddhist name. Other conventional iconography includes lotus blossoms or petals, incense burners, and prayer beads. The tragic suicide of Ichikawa Danjuro VIII in 1854 at the age of thirty-two resulted in nearly 200 shini-e of the actor. Some shini-e are recycled from earlier kabuki prints with the background blocks recut so they could be rushed into production. Most shini-e are unsigned, although some include the artist's signature. These designs are an interesting area of collecting.
Comments - Handsome shini-e or memorial portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro IX, one of the most popular kabuki actors of the Meiji era. He is shown as a traveler taking a break, sitting on a rock and lifting the edge of his woven hat. He wears a light blue-gray kimono patterned with lavender peonies over white leggings and wrist guards, a walking staff in hand and a white cloth wrapped about his head. Nicely detailed with delicate cloth embossing on the leggings, wrist guards, and white cloth around the head.
Artist - Toshihide (1863 - 1925)
Image Size - 14 1/4" x 9 3/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent color and detail as shown. A few creases and marks. Please see photos for details.
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