Chikayoshi Toyohara, Kabuki Theatre, Kanadehon Chushingura


Artist: Chikayoshi Toyohara (act 1870s-1880s)
Title: Kanadehon Chushingura
Publisher: Yamamura Kinzaburo
Date: 1879
Size: (L) 35.1 x 24.8, (C) 35.1 x 24.9, (R) 35.2 x 25.0 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

Kanadehon Chushingura, the story of fourty seven retainers, is one of the greatest tales about loyalty and revenge in Japanese history. It is closely based on a historical event from the eighteenth century.

While preparing for the visit of the Emperor's ambassador in Edo Castle, one of the noblemen, Lord Asano of Ako, provoked by the countless insults, drew his sword on the other lord wounding him considerably. However, as drawing a weapon in the palace was strictly prohibited, Lord Asano was sentenced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide by disembowelment). His property was confiscated and his samurai dismissed, making them rōnin, or masterless warriors. Thereafter, the rōnin avenged their master by killing the enemy and putting his head on the grave of Lord Asano. The story ends with the honourable death by seppuku of the faithful samurai.

Chikayoshi Toyohara

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Print FormatTriptych
ArtistChikayoshi Toyohara
SubjectKabuki Theatre
Dimensions (L) 35.1 x 24.8, (C) 35.1 x 24.9, (R) 35.2 x 25.0 cm
Condition ReportTrimmed, binding folds, some tears along the folds, light soiling, a light crease on the left panel.