Sadahide Utagawa, A Picture of 108 Heroes of the Suikoden


Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Sadahide Utagawa (1807-1873)
Title: A Picture of 108 Heroes of the Suikoden
Publisher: Daikokuya Heikichi
Date: 1843
Condition: Backing. Black pigment, creases, some pinholes. Additional margin on left print.
Size: (L) 25.5 x 35.6 (C) 25.4 x 35.6 (R) 24.9 x 35.5 cm

Utagawa Sadahide was an accomplished woodblock print designer. His real name was Hashimoto, but he also used art names of Gountei Sadahide and Gyokuransai Sadahide. He was one of the most talented students of Kunisada, best known for his Yokohama-e – images of Westerners stationed in the port of Yokohama. His experimented with panoramic perspective and bird’s eye- view to depict panoramas of Osaka, Kyoto and Nagasaki. His art was very appreciated by the contemporary and exhibited during the World Exhibition in Paris in 1867 alongside artists like Zeshin Shibata.


In this earlier print, published in the Edo period, Sadahide depicts a scene from the famous Suikoden (Water Margin) story. Suikoden is a 14th century Chinese novel about 108 rebels and heroic bandits, very popular in Japan throughout generations. 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.

Sadahide Utagawa

A prolific but minor woodblock printmaker and illustrator, producing some theatrical prints in the Osaka manner as well as prints of traditional Japanese subjects and, after Yokohama was opened to the West, of contemporary industrial scenes and foreigners. Also made political cartoons and copied many works by earlier artists. His effective and decorative prints show the influence of Western perspective and chiaroscuro.

More Information
Print FormatTriptych
ArtistSadahide Utagawa
SubjectSamurai & Male
Dimensions(L) 25.5 x 35.6 (C) 25.4 x 35.6 (R) 24.9 x 35.5 cm