Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Mase Chudayu Masaaki, The Faithful Samurai

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798-1861)
Title: Mase Chudayu Masaaki
Series: Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai
Publisher: Ebiya-Rinnosuke
Date: 1847-1848
Size: 25.3 x 37.2 cm
Condition: Light wear, partly thin areas, creases.

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.

Kuniyoshi succeeds in creating an extraordinary design in this print, posing Mase Chudayu Masaaki as he aims his bow and arrow and is about to shoot. From whatever angle the print is viewed, the arrow will point directly at the viewer. Mase is also described as being a skilled swordsman and on the night of the attack, he fought bravely and was greatly admired by all of his companions.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Kuniyoshi Utagawa
Title Mase Chudayu Masaaki
Subject Samurai & Male
Dimensions 25.3 x 37.2 cm
Condition Report Light wear, partly thin areas, creases.