Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Fuwa Katsuemon Masatane, The Faithful Samurai

SKU
CMSA253
japanese art authenticityAuthenticity Guaranteed
Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798-1861)
Title: Fuwa Katsuemon Masatane
Series: Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai
Publisher: Ebiya-Rinnosuke
Date: 1847-1848
Size: 23.7 x 35.8 cm
Condition: Slightly trimmed, light wear and soiling, partly misprinted, tear restored on the left top, hole.

The story of forty-seven retainers, also known as the story of the faithful samurai 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. Many woodblock prints depicting the subject were published during the Edo period, as it resonated with a population that often resented the government of the time and was avid for any form of retribution. Kuniyoshi was a master in the genre of warrior prints, and his series expressively portrays these warrior 'folk heroes' individually, with a background story and highlighting personality traits.


Over six feet tall, quick-tempered Masatane examines the cutting edge of his sword. As a samurai skilled at suemono-giri (now tameshi-giri, the art of cutting the body in two) he was discharged from his services after having tested his swordsmanship on a deceased person. However, when he heard about the death of his lord, he promised to apologise for the disgrace he had brought and swear loyalty to his late master. Only then was he allowed to join the attack of the enemy's mansion. Depicted with his weapons, Masatane is a suitable example of an expert of the Kurama Shindo school of swordsmanship.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Kuniyoshi Utagawa
Title Fuwa Katsuemon Masatane
Subject Samurai & Male
Dimensions 23.7 x 35.8 cm
Condition Report Slightly trimmed, light wear and soiling, partly misprinted, tear restored on the left top, hole.