Hiroshige actor print

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Posted by Guy Pepermans on November 15, 2002 at 23:09:58:

I recently obtained a Hiroshige print that was sold as an 'Shini-e' (actor memorial print or death print). After some research, I think that this is impossible.
The print was edited by 'J˘shuya Kinz˘' (act. 1830-1852) without censor seal and depicts the actors Sawamura Tossh˘ I and Iwai Shijaku I (I think)who later adopted the name Iwai Hanshiro VII.
Sawamura died in 1853 and Iwai in 1845.
In my opinion, the print can be dated back to november 1831; at that time Sawamura Gennosuke II changed his name into S. Tossh˘ I at an annual ceremony.
Hiroshige's signature is of a type used during the 1820's and before 1832 (according to R. Lane). The background is a Chinese style landscape in 'aizuri' following a fashion set by Keisai Eisen in 1830.
So I think that the subject of this print is the commemoration of this official event - Sawagura becoming S. Tossh˘ I.
I'am I right? Was it a private printed print? Can someone tell me also why Iwai is depicted as a child?
Thanks for your comments.


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