Kuniyoshi Utagawa, Water Margin, Suikoden, Tattoo Design

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Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Kuniyoshi Utagawa (1797-1861)
Title: 108 Heroes of the Water Margin
Publisher: Daikokuya Heikichi
Date: 1844

Condition: Minor soiling and spots. Light wear on the edges. Horizontal fold mark. Restored pinhole.


Suikoden (Water Margin) is a 14th century Chinese novel about 108 rebels and heroic bandits, very popular in Japan those days. The characters were also outlaws and brigands, seen as men of honour who would rebel against bureaucracy, a Robin-Hood-like band that made the story of a revolutionary novel with implications resenting the authority of the time.


This print is from a series of twelve numbered prints illustrating all 108 heroes of the Suikoden novel. Each print of the series depicts a group of nine heroes. After Kuniyoshi's breakthrough series, 'The 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden', published between 1827 - 1830, the artist came back to the theme of the heroes many times in his career.

More Information
Artist Name Kuniyoshi Utagawa
Title 108 Heroes of the Water Margin
Subject Samurai & Male, Kabuki, Tattoo
Series Ogura Imitation of the Hundred Poets