Warrior triptychs

1818-1831

 

Kuniyoshi - (T  1) The Taira Ghosts Attacking Yoshitsune's Ship

Title: Untitled

Description: The ghosts of Tomomori and the other Taira warriors slain at Dan-no-ura attacking Yoshitsune and Benkei in their ship

Publisher: Azuma-ya Daisuke

Date: 1818

Robinson: T1

 

NOTE: This is generally considered to be Kuniyoshi’s earliest warrior triptych.

Kuniyoshi - (T  1a) Minamoto Yorimitsu also known as Raiko with a spider, 1818-1820

Title: Untitled

Description: The hero Raikô (Minamoto no Yorimitsu) in his sickness is tormented by the Earth Spider, one of whose legs he has cut off, but it is replaced by a human arm

Publisher: Nishimura-ya Yohachi

Date: c.1818-20.

Robinson: T1a

 

NOTE: This may be the left and middle sheets of a triptych

Kuniyoshi - (T  2) Tadanobu (in Yoshitsune's armor) and his men fighting Yokogawa Kakuhan and his monks in the snow on Mt

Title: Untitled

Description: Tadanobu in Yoshitsune’s armor, with his men, fighting Yokogawa Kakuhan and his monks amid a flight of arrows in the snows of Mount Yoshino

Publisher: Tsuru-ya Kihei

Date: c.1820

Robinson: T2

Kuniyoshi - (T  3)

Title: Untitled

Description: Raikô’s retainers advancing on Kidô Maru, who raises his buffalo-hide disguise

Publisher: Ise-ya Rihei

Date: c. 1820

Robinson: T3

 

I am grateful to Marc DeVriese for this image.

Title: Untitled

Description: The Earth-Spider and his demons attacking the sick Raikô and his retainers

Publisher: Yamamoto-ya Heikichi

Date: c. 1820

Robinson: T4

 

I am grateful to Paul Steier for this image.

Title: Untitled

Description: Ushiwaka Maru fighting Kumasaka Chôhan and his gang at the post station

Publisher: Yamamoto-ya Heikichi

Date: c.1820

Robinson: T5

 

I am grateful to Vladislav Shevyrev for this image.

Kuniyoshi - (T  6) 1820-25  Kuryu Saemon, Hata Rokurozaemon, Shinozuka Iga no Kami, and Watari Shinzaemon, retainers of Nitta Yoshisada, breaking up a haunted temple

Title: Untitled

Description: Kuryû Saemon (栗生左衛門), Hata Rokurozaemon (畑六郎左衛門), Shinozuka Iga-no-kami (篠塚伊賀守), and Watari Shinzaemon (渡新左衛門), all retainers of Nitta Yoshisada

Publisher: Yamamoto-ya Heikichi

Date: c. 1820-1825

Robinson: T6

 

NOTE: Robinson describes this untitled triptych as breaking up a haunted temple.  However, it may actually depict the Battle of Miidera.  I am grateful to Robert Pryor for information about this triptych.

Kuniyoshi - (T  7) The Nue, shot down in a swirling black cloud by Gen Sammi Yorimasa about to be dispatched by Ii no Hayate

Title: Untitled

Description: The Nue, shot down in a swirling black cloud by Gen Sammi Yorimasa (源三位頼政) is about to be dispatched by Ii no Hayata (猪早太廣直).  The soldier on the right panel is identified as Watanabe Tadashi (渡邉丁七唱).

Publisher: Yamamoto-ya Heikichi

Date: c. 1820-1825

Robinson: T7

 

NOTE: The nue () was a beast with the head of a monkey, the claws of a tiger, the back of a badger and a snake for a tail.  It spent its nights on the roof of the Emperor’s palace, causing him grave illness until it was slain by I no Hayata Hironao.  Usually Minamoto Yorimasa is credited with shooting it down off the roof.

Kuniyoshi - (T  7) The Nue, shot down in a swirling black cloud by Gen Sammi Yorimasa about to be dispatched by Ii no Hayate (Alt

I am grateful to Marc DeVriese for this alternate state of the above design.

Kuniyoshi - (T  8) Hatsuhana is in a waterfall Revenge of the Crippled Man at Hakone (Hakone reigen izari no adauchi), 1825

Title: Hakone reigen izari no ada-uchi

Description: The revenge of Iinuma Katsugorô, with the apparition of his wife Hatsu-hana in the waterfall

Publisher: Nishimura-ya Yohachi

Date: c. 1825

Robinson: T8

Title: Ehon Gappô tsuji (絵本合邦辻)

Description: Takahashi Kambô defending himself on a huge image against a swarm of attackers

Publisher: Tsuru-ya Kihei

Date: c. 1825

Robinson: T9

Another state of the above design

Kuniyoshi - (T 10) ghost of Akugenda Yoshihira striking down his killer Namba Jiro at Nunobiki waterfall (Kiyomori Nyudo Nunobiki no taki yuran Akugenda Yoshihira no rei Namba Jiro wo utsu)

Title: Taira no Kiyomori Encountering the Ghost of Yoshihiro at Nunobiki Falls (Kiyomori nyûdô Nunobiki no taki yûran Akugenda Yoshihira no rei Namba Jirô wo utsu, 清盛入道布引滝遊覧)

Description: The ghost of Akugenda Yoshihira striking down his killer, Namba Jirô, at the Nunobiki waterfall before Kiyomori and his suite

Publisher: Ise-ya Sanjirô

Date: c. 1825

Robinson: T10

Kuniyoshi%20-%20(T%2010)%20ghost%20of%20Akugenda%20Yoshihira%20striking%20down%20his%20killer%20Namba%20Jiro%20at%20Nunobiki%20waterfall%20(Kiyomori%20Nyudo%20Nunobiki%20no%20taki%20yuran%20Akugenda%20Yoshihira%20no%20rei%20Namba%20Jiro%20wo%20utsu,%20(Da

I am grateful to Vladislav Ruchkin for this variant of the above design published by Daikoku-ya Heikichi.

Kuniyoshi - (T 11) The 47 Rônin, their task accomplished, retire to Takanawa; their leader Yuranosuke interviewing a priest of the temple

Title: Chûshingura: gishi Takanawa hikitori no zu

Description: The Forty-seven Rônin, their task accomplished, retire to Takanawa; their leader Yuranosuke interviewing a priest of the temple (right)

Publisher: Kaga-ya Kichiemon

Date: 1827

Robinson: T11

Kuniyoshi - (T 12) The night attack of the loyal retainers (Chûshingura yo-uchi no zu)

Title: Chûishingura: yo-uchi no zu

Description: The night attack in the Chûishingura; fight in the garden between the Forty-Seven Rônin and the retainers of Moronao, some of whom (left) are defending their master’s hiding place

Publisher: Kaga-ya Kichiemon

Date: c. 1827-1830

Robinson: T12

Kuniyoshi - (T 13) Night attack of the play Chûshingura, triptych, c

Title: Chûshingura: yo-uchi no zu

Description: The night attack in the Chûshingura; the Forty-seven Rônin beginning to go over Moronao’s wall by rope ladders on either side of the main gate

Publisher: Kaga-ya Kichiemon

Date: c. 1827-1830

Robinson: T13

T14

Title: Chûshingura jûichi damme: Ryôgoku-bashi sei-soroi zu

Description: Eleventh act of the Chûshingura: the Forty-seven Rônin assembled at sunrise in the snow at Ryôgoku Bridge with a flight of wild geese overhead 

Publisher: Kaga-ya Kichiemon

Date: c. 1827-1830

Robinson: T14

 

I am grateful to Marc DeVriese for this image.

Kuniyoshi - (T 15) Chushingura, 1827-42

Title: Chûshingura: gishi Ryôgoku-bashi hikitori no zu

Description: The Forty-seven Rônin, having crossed

Ryôgoku bridge on their triumphant return, are interviewed by a mounted official (right)

Publisher: Kaga-ya Kichibei

Date: c. 1827-1830

Robinson: T15

Kuniyoshi - (T 16) Shizuka Gozen, Sato Tadanobu, Yoshitsune, Benkei and other loyal followers prepare to defend the Horikawa mansion from the night attack by Tosabo

Title: Untitled

Description: Preparations for the defense of the Horikawa Palace: Shizuka-gozen is handed a naginata by one of her maids, while Tadanobu gets out his armor (left); Yoshitsune, armed with a naginata, hurries along the veranda (center); and Benkei, grasping an iron club, gives directions (right)

Publisher: Nishimura-ya Yohachi

Date: c. 1830

Robinson: T16

Kuniyoshi - (T 17) Yoshitsune executing his eight boat leap, cutting through a rudder and wooden shield that have been thrown at him

Title: Yashima ô-kassen

Description: Yoshitsune executing his ‘eight boat leap’ (hassô-tobi), cutting through a rudder and a wooden shield that have been thrown at him

Publisher: Ise-ya Rihei

Date: c. 1830

Robinson: T17

 

NOTE: This triptych is known both with and without a black sky.

Title: Ujigawa kassen no zu (The Fording of the Uji River)

Description: Takatsuna leading, followed by Kagesue and Shigetada

Publisher: Ezaki-ya Tatsuzô

Date: c. 1831

Robinson: T18

 

I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this image.

Another state of the above design with blue replacing purple

Kuniyoshi - (T 18) Sasaki Takatsuna and Kajiwara Kagetoki leading troops at the battle of Uji River (c

This reissue of the above design dates from about 1845 and bears the seals of the publisher Ômi-ya Heihachi and the censor Hama

Title: None

Description: Abe Sadatô (安部貞任) and Hachimantarô Yoshiie (八幡太郎義家) facing each other on horseback

Publisher: Kawaguchi-ya Shôzô (川正板)

Date: c. 1820s

Robinson: T18a (not in Robinson)

 

NOTE: This diptych shows the “poetry battle” following the Battle of Koromogawa, where Yoshiie challenged the fleeing Abe Sadatô.  The story relates that Sadatô, seeing he has lost, escapes the fort through a back exit, only to be spotted and pursued by Yoshiie, who catches up with him near the Koromo River.  As he pursues Sadatô, Yoshiie calls to him to quit running and return to fight, and then recites “Koromo no tate wa hokorobi-nikeri” (“The woof [tate] of your robe [koromo] is in tatters,” or “your citadel [tate] at Koromo is destroyed”).  Sadatô pauses, shakes his head, and responds “toshi o heshi ito no midare no kurushisa ni” (“having endured the disarray of old threads [ito] that have seen many years,” or “amid the suffering brought about by the muddling of [battle] plans [ito] of many years”).  Yoshiie is so impressed, that he removes the arrow already fitted to his bow and turns away.  This collaborative poem (renga) appears in the upper part of the diptych.  I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this information.

I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this image of Wada Yoshimori (和田義盛), which is similar to the preceding diptych and is also published by Kawaguchi-ya Shôzô.

Title: None

Description: Matano Gorô (股野五郎) and Sanada Yoichi (眞田與市) facing each other on horseback

Publisher: Kawaguchi-ya Shôzô (川正板)

Date: c. 1820s

Robinson: T18b (not in Robinson)

 

I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this image.

I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this alternate state of the above design with blue pine needles.

Image4

Description: Kajiwara Kagetoki (梶原 景時) crossing the Uji River 

Publisher: Unidentified

Date: c. 1818-1831

Robinson: T18c (not in Robinson)

 

“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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