Woodblock print, nishiki-e
Vertical ōban, 366 x 256 mm
Signed: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Kagaya Kichibei
Series: The 108 Heroes of the Popular Suikoden
Tsūzoku Suikoden gōketsu hyaku-hachi-nin no hitori
Fine impression, colour and condition. Minimal trimming at bottom, retains original Japanese album backing.
This series, based on stories from the semi-historical Chinese novel Suikoden (Shuihu zhuan in Chinese), made Kuniyoshi famous as the most distinguished creator of musha-e, images of warriors. The novel tells of the adventures of a band of 108 rebels who sought refuge in the margins of Liangshan Marsh. These rebel warriors sought to protect the poor and downtrodden, very much like Robin Hood’s band. The subjects of this novel were taken over again by Kuniyoshi in his career, but this is the first and the most celebrated series devoted by the artist to the Suikoden.
B. W. Robinson, Kuniyoshi: The Warrior Prints, Oxford, 1982, no. S2.30.
Robert Schaap, Heroes and Ghosts, Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi 1797-1861, catalogue of the exhibition in Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 1998; cat. No 8.
Inge Klompmakers, Of brigands and bravery, Kuniyoshi’s heroes of the Suikoden, Leiden 2016, cat. no. 28