Yoshiharu Utagawa, Roshi Ensei, Suikoden, Tattoo Design

japanese art authenticityAuthenticity Guaranteed
Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Yoshiharu Utagawa (1828-1888)
Title: Roshi Ensei
Series: Mirror of the Heroes of Suikoden
Publisher: Yamaguchiya Tobei
Date:: 1856
Size: 24.9 x 36.6 cm
Condition: Light wear around the edge, creases, slightly soiled, vertical folds, minor stains on the back

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. Many Japanese novels imitating the Suikoden were dramatised as Kabuki plays or were portrayed in woodblock prints.

The artist who started a craze for 'Suikoden' and had the most success was Kuniyoshi Utagawa. Many of his students including Yoshiharu followed in his footsteps and created their own interpretation of the heroes based on the designs of Kuniyoshi.

This print shows Roshi Ensei, a wrestler whose skin was decorated at an early age by a master tattoo artist with an elaborate all-body design of peonies and Chinese shishi (leonine creatures).

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Yoshiharu Utagawa
Subject Samurai & Male, Tattoo
Dimensions 24.9 x 36.6 cm
Publisher Yamaguchi-ya Tobei