Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Revenge of the Taira Warriors

Artist:
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Japanese, 1797–1861)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
1843–47
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Triptych of polychrome woodblock prints; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
Oban triptych: Each H. 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm); W. 9 7/8 in. (25.1 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1929
Accession Number:
JP1565
Not on view
Kuniyoshi used silhouette—itself a symbol of evanescence—as a method of depiction such ethereal subjects as ghosts, around which developed a genre that became increasingly popular in the nineteenth century. Represented are the ghosts of the Taira warriors, who were vanquished at sea by the Minamoto clan from a twelfth-century clan rivalry. The Minamoto sail past the site of the earlier battle and is attacked by the ghosts of the Taira. The ghosts are differentiated from the living not only by a separate color palette but also by Kuniyoshi's device of contrasting of their soft, fluid outlines with the razor-sharp clarity and detail with which the Minamoto clan is treated.
Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga, and artist's seal

Marking: Seal: Enshūya Hikobei, Censor's seal: Fuku (Fukushima Giyemon) and Muramatsu (Muramatsu Genroku)
Frederick E. Church , New York (until 1929; sold to MMA).
Nagoya City Museum. "Ukiyo-e from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 14, 1995–May 28, 1995.

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