Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Tomimori Suke'emon Masayori, The Faithful Samurai

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1798-1861)
Title: Tomimori Suke'emon Masayori
Series: Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai
Publisher: Ebiya-Rinnosuke
Date: 1847-1848
Size: 23.7 x 36.3 cm
Condition: Slightly trimmed, light wear and soiling, hole, tear restored on top right.

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.

Tomimori is shown in the middle of the attack, trying to defend himself against the enemy. As they infiltrated the mansion in the middle of the night, the unarmed household faced the ronin with home furnishings. In this case, someone threw a hibachi (brazier) at Tomimori, with coals and ashes flying about him. The print has had a metallic powder hand-applied after its printing to simulate the coal dust from the hibachi.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Kuniyoshi Utagawa
Title Tomimori Suke'emon Masayori
Subject Samurai & Male
Dimensions 23.7 x 36.3 cm
Condition Report Slightly trimmed, light wear and soiling, hole, tear restored on top right.