Two Brothers Zhang Xiao and Zhang Li

Utagawa Kuniyoshi Japanese

Not on view

This extremely rare preparatory drawing presents the story of two brothers, Zhang Xiao and Zhang Li (J.: Chōkō and Chōrei). Li, while searching for nuts to feed his starving mother, was accosted by bandits. Imploring them to let him feed his mother before they killed him, he was permitted to return temporarily, only to have his brother Xiao intervene with the bandits and offer his own life instead. Profoundly moved, the bandits not only set the brothers free but also gave them food.

Two Brothers Zhang Xiao and Zhang Li, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Japanese, 1797–1861), Woodblock print; ink on thin paper, Japan

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