Memorial Portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro VIII with Death Poem, 1854

by Edo era artist (unsigned)

Current Status

Memorial Portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro VIII with Death Poem, 1854 by Edo era artist (unsigned)

Original Edo era Japanese Woodblock Print
Memorial Portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro VIII with Death Poem, 1854

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.

Artist - Edo era artist (unsigned)

Image Size - 14" x 9 1/4"

Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Paper remnants on reverse from previous backing. Slight separation at ends of vertical centerfold, repaired. Thinning. Slight toning, soiling, and wrinkling. Please see photos for details.

Memorial Portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro VIII with Death Poem, 1854 by Edo era artist (unsigned)
Memorial Portrait of Ichikawa Danjuro VIII with Death Poem, 1854 by Edo era artist (unsigned)

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