Katsukawa Shunsho / Memorial portrait of Ichikawa Ebizo II (Danjuro II) as a peddler of the panacea uiro / c. 1768/70Katsukawa Shunsho
Memorial portrait of Ichikawa Ebizo II (Danjuro II) as a peddler of the panacea uiro
c. 1768/70

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Creator Name: Katsukawa, Shunsho
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: Japanese; 1726-1792 Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Active Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Katsukawa Shunsho
Title: Memorial portrait of Ichikawa Ebizo II (Danjuro II) as a peddler of the panacea uiro
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1768
Creation End Date: 1770
Creation Date: c. 1768/70
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Hosoban; 31.2 x 14.2 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Shunsho gaARTIST'S SEAL Hayashi in jar-shaped outline
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1939.686
Credit Line: Frederick W. Gookin Collection
Rights: http://www.artic.edu/aic/rights/main.rights.html
Context: Ichikawa Ebizo II appears in the role of a peddler of uiro- a kind of panacea used as an expectorant, deodorant, and mouthwash (among other things). Under the weight of the large black lacquer chest that holds his wares he stands with legs braced and back bowed, scowling. His face is flat, the nose long and pointed. Clearly visible at the top of the chest is the place-name Odawara, where the medicine was made; at the bottom of the chest, nearly hidden behind the actor's left sleeve, is the word uiro. Hiskimono is colorfully decorated with the 'assorted lucky treasures' (takara-zukushi) pattern and the actor's lobster (ebi) emblem. On his sleeveless jacket is a bold design of paper streamers hanging from ropes (a Shinto emblem called shimenawa). Ebizo IIhad first created the role of urio seller in 1718 (when he still used the name Danjuro? II), scoring a great comic hit with a rush of words 'like a waterfall' advertising the miraculous powers of his cure-all.Since Ebizo II died on the twenty-fourth dayof the ninth month, 1758, and full-color prints (nishiki-e, of which this is one) only began to appear about 1765 there is no doubt that this was issued as a posthumous portrait. Probably for this reason Shunsho felt obliged to jog the memory of the fickle populace by adding the name of the actor to the print; for an actor currently in the public eye, the accuracy of the portrait was sufficient identification. Kabuki Nendaiki reproduces a portrait of Danjuro 11 as an urio seller in the first performance of the role, in 1718 (though of course these illustrations were redrawn by Katsukawa Shuntei [1770-1820] when Nendaiki was published in 1811-1815), and it is likely that Shunsho based this likeness on some such earlier portrait (see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, fig. 37.1, p.124). Gookin (1931, see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, p.94) mentions a surimono by Shunsho showing Ebizo II as an uiro seller (not reproduced, present location unknown), with the words ji sha ('drawn by himself') in the signature, which he suggests may have been made from life.The difficult question to answer is when the print might have been issued. The form of the signature, along with the seal composed of Hayashi in a jar-shaped outline, suggests a date between 1767 and 1770. There were memorial performances for Ebizo II in the ninth months of 1764 and 1770, the seventh and thirteenth anniversaries of his death. On neither occasion does there seem to have been a performance of the 'uiro- seller' scene, though publishers may have marked the 1770 anniversary by issuing this print of Ebizo in his most famous role. The unabbreviated form of the character ga ('drawn by') in the signature (similar to the signature on No. 30, published in the tenth month of 1768), and the generally simple style of the drawing, however, suggest a date later than 1764 and earlier than 1770 closer to 1768.The indigo blue background of the Chicago impression has faded to a pale shade of sand.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1939.686
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998

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