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of items sold in the past
|KUNISADA, Utagawa (1786 - 1865)||
The young actor, Ichikawa Ebizo VI, as Namazu Bozu
in front of Danjuro VII's portrait
Signed: Kochoro Kunisada ga
Seal: double toshidama
Two poems by: Hoshutei Funauta and Hoshitei
Size: shikishiban (21.2 x 18.6 cms)
An exceptionally well preserved piece, fine impression and colors, with
areas of blind printing, use of metallic (silver and brass colored) pigments.
This fine surimono shows the young actor, Ichikawa Ebizo VI, as Namazu Bozu in front of a
portrait of his famous father, Ichikawa Danjuro VII. The portrait is framed by the mon
(crest) of the Ichikawa family. Ebizo VI was a precocious actor who was to commit suicide in 1854
when he was just 30 years old. He succeeded to the name Danjuro VIII in the third month of
1832 when his father took back the name Ebizo V. This double portrait could have been made on
Surimono which mostly had been commissioned by poetry circles on specific occasions, like for the beginning of a new year or on the occasion of anniversaries, but also by other artists like actors on the occasion of name changes (as most likely in this case) - were given as presents to selected people. They were published privately in very small editions of sometimes only 20 impressions. Surimono represent the peak of Japanese woodblock printing techniques, using thick, soft paper which allowed to apply all those refined printing techniques, like blind printing, extensive use of metallic pigments and many others, a process much too time consuming and thus too expensive to be produced in larger quantities. Surimonon have become treasured pieces by collectors of Japanese prints, and exceptionally fine pieces like the present one have survived in small numbers only.
Another impression is discussed and illustrated in:
part IV of the catalog of the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1984, p.86, no. 146.