Heroes of the Popular History of the Three Kingdoms, One by One

(Tszoku Sangokushi eiy no ichi-nin, 通俗三国志英雄之壹人)

Publisher: Jsh-ya Kinz

1836

 

Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a Chinese historical novel written in the fourteenth century by Luo Guanzhong about the period between the years 184 and 280 CE. During this turbulent period of history, China was composed of three competing kingdomsthe Wei (also known as Cao Wei), the Han (also known as Shu Han or Shu) and the Wu (also known as Eastern Wu). The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ban.

 

Hero: The scholar and teacher Kmei praying for wind at the alter of the Seven Stars

Robinson: S10.1 (first state)

 

NOTE: In the first state of this design, the title cartouche (right lower corner) reads Tszoku Sangokushi eiy no ichi-nin, the same as on the other prints from this series. I am grateful to Ward Pieters for locating this image.

 

 

Hero: The scholar and teacher Kmei praying for wind at the alter of the Seven Stars

Robinson: S10.1 (second state)

 

NOTE: In the second state of this design, title cartouche reads Wakan buy kagami instead of Tszoku Sangokushi eiy no ichi-nin.

 

 

Hero: Kwanu grasping his huge glaive and subduing a band of rebels on the steps of a castle

Robinson: S10.2

 

Hero: Mki Bach killing the mother of Kyjo of Rekij after becoming a follower of Gentoku

Robinson: S10.3

 

Another state of the above print.

 

Hero: Chk and Ch-un fighting on a hillside partly enveloped by smoke

Robinson: S10.4

 

Another state without smoke

 

Hero: Gentoku (Future emperor Chao Lieh) and his black horse Tekiro are leaping into the Tan Gorge in order to escape captivity

Robinson: S10.5

 

This is a later edition of the above print with a simplified design.

 

Hero: Hsen Ryofu mounted with hair and cloths flying spears a fallen foe after the defeat of Ss

Robinson: S10.6

 

Hero: Chhi holding his formidable spear, glares at the enemy from the back of his black horse

Robinson: S10.7

 

Hero: Shus and Htoku fighting under water

Robinson: S10.8

This is a key block for the above print, courtesy of Horst Graebner. It is an impression pulled from the first woodblock made by a carver from the artists original drawing. The artist would write instructions for each color on a separate key block print, and the woodblock for each color was cut using one of these as a guide. Registration marks (kento) are characteristically found on Japanese key block prints. Kento are cut in each woodblock, so that the paper can be properly aligned on each woodblock during printing. Kento are visible in this prints right lower corner and right upper corner. In addition to being a guide for carving the color woodblocks, the key block was also used to apply black ink (usually) in the printing process.

 

Hero: Ch-un (Chao Yun) saving Gentokus son A Tow at the battle of Chang Fan Kiao in 208 CE

Robinson: Not listed

 

NOTE: It is easy to miss A-Tows small head directly below Ch-uns head.

 

Hero: Shinwa-Yi (probably) hanging onto a rock in a fast-flowing river

Robinson: Not listed

 

 

Robinson refers to listing in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by Basil William Robinson (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1982) and its privately published supplement.

 

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