Artist: Toshide Migita (1863-1925)
Title: Tokimune (Soga Goro) Sneaking into Yoritomo’s Residence
Publisher: Sasaki Toyokichi
Dimensions: (L) 24 x 34.5 (C) 24.5 x 35 (R) 23.8 x 34.7 cm
Condition: Some pinholes and minor tears. Small hole and tear on left panel.
Through the dramatic use of perspective and colour, Toshihide reenvisions the climax of the Tale of the Soga Brothers. A particularly favourite subject in ukiyo-e, the story follows two brothers seeking to avenge their murdered father, recounting their trials and hardships along the way. Here, one of the brothers, Soga Goro, who can be identified by his butterfly robe, approaches the completion of his revenge. His father’s killer, Kudō Suketsune, cowers before him. Silvery streaks of rain are visible in the pitch black night, evoking the tense sound of a storm. Clever use of the vertical wood panels give an extreme sense of space, diving the eye towards the shadowy corners of the mansion rendered with bokashi gradation. Natural woodgrain from the printing block has imbued the wooden slats of the residence with its natural texture, which in conjunction with the keen attention and care for detail in the scene, heighten its realism and dynamism. An extremely successful work from the pupil of Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, which resonates with his master’s sense of movement and drama.