Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Faithful Samurai, Tadao, Ronin
Artist: Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798-1861)
Title: No 14. Otaka Gengo Tadao
Series: Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai
Publisher: Ebiya Rinnosuke
Date: c. 1850
Condition report: Restored wormhole. Small hole on the top right cartouche. Paper partially soiled. Minor stains. Small blue spot on the right side.
Dimensions: 24.7 x 35.7 cm
It has the power
to bend trees and fold mountains -
snow on pine branches
Written after the night of the fourty seven ronin's attack, Tadao muses on nature's power despite his wounds. Known for his extreme loyalty and aptitude for poetry, the warrior played a significant role in the vengeance of the masterless samurai. Although Tadao is said to have been a fashionable youth who often frequented the stylish establishments of the new capital of Edo, the warrior man used his knowledge of the arts and the city to profit his comrade's cause.
Behind the guise of the tea ceremony, Tadao entered the home of their target, Moronao, gaining valuable information for their assassination plot. The tenets of chadō [lit. the way of tea] explored various philosophical and aesthetic concepts in Japanese culture, using the passing time of tea to condense the arts and create a fleeting poetic moment. By its very nature the privacy of the ceremony, usually between two people or a very small group, permitted a safe zone for high-level political talk and the passing of dangerous information. Tadao is told to have utilised this aspect of the tea ceremony and his fashionable demeanour to successfully enter the home of his enemy. Kuniyoshi's fierce depiction of the warrior almost removes him from his artistic connoisseurship. His dogtooth robe flies up to his left as he dives towards his enemy with his spear, cutting diagonally across the design with his eyes fixed on his opponent. Still, Kuniyoshi is able to imbue the warrior's elegance with his arched back and arms giving his fighting pose surety and compactness as it follows the movement of his spear.
|Artist Name||Kuniyoshi Utagawa|
|Title||No 14. Otaka Gengo Tadao|
|Subject||Samurai & Male|
|Condition Report||Restored wormhole. Small hole on the top right cartouche. Paper partially soiled. Minor stains. Small blue spot on the right side.|
|Dimensions||24.7 x 35.7 cm|
|Series||The Faithful Samurai|