Hiroshige Ando, Act 11, The Storehouse of Loyal Retainers
Artist: Hiroshige I Ando (1797–1858)
Title: Act 11
Series title: The Storehouse of Loyal Retainers
Size: 20.2 x 32.5 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.
|Print Format||Oban (Horizontal)|
|Artist Name||Hiroshige Ando|
|Subject||Samurai & Male|
|Dimensions||20.2 x 32.5 cm|
|Condition Report||Trimmed. Light fading and minor spots.|
Ando Hiroshige, who is best known for his landscape prints, is considered one of the six greatest Japanese printmakers in Ukiyo-e history and is said to have influenced Western impressionists, such as Van Gogh and Claude Monet, through his use of perspective. 1831 is the year when his first landscape series ‘Famous Places of The Eastern Capital’ (Toto Meisho) was published and the following year Hiroshige passed on his family responsibilities to his relatives to dedicate his entire energy to printmaking, changing his pen name further to reflect the change in his life. In the same year (1832), Hiroshige was appointed by Bakufu, the feudal government of Japan to accompany an official procession from Edo to Kyoto and then the residence of the emperor along the Tokaido road. The artist made many sketches during the journeys, resulting in the production of his most acclaimed series ‘Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road’ in the next two years. This series received a huge commercial success. It was rare for an artist (and regular people in general) to be able to travel and sketch landscapes from life rather than the imagination during the Edo period. The ten-year period of 1833-1843 is thought to have been Hiroshige’s most developed and innovative time as an artist. A lot of series that were produced during this time, such as ‘Sixty-nine Stations of Kisokaido Road’, ‘Eight Views of Omi’ and ‘Famous Places of Kyoto’, would lead to the peak of his career when he produced the ‘Famous Views of Sixty-odd Provinces’, ‘Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji’ and his last great series, ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’.