Saigo Takamori

Historical period(s)
Meiji era, ca. 1877
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 24.8 x 17.9 cm (9 3/4 x 7 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift--the Elizabeth D. Woodbury collection of prints from Meiji Japan
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Elizabeth D. Woodbury collection, Japan, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), night, portrait, samurai, Satsuma Rebellion, WWII-era provenance

From the 1960s to 1999
Elizabeth D. Woodbury, Japan and Alexandria, VA, purchased in Japan in the 1960s [1]

From 1999
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, given by Elizabeth D. Woodbury in 1999


[1] According to Provenance Remark 1 in the object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Elizabeth D. Woodbury


This half-size (chuban) print portrays Saigo Takamori (1827-77), a samurai from the Satsuma domain and an imperial loyalist who participated in the final battles that ended the Tokugawa shogunate. He later became a prominent leader in the government after the Meiji restoration, but he opposed a decision not to take military action against Korea, and he returned to his home in Kagoshima Prefecture to lead a group of dissident samurai against the Meiji government. This campaign, which ultimately failed and ended with Saigo's suicide in 1877, was known as the Satsuma Rebellion.

Here Saigo is shown wearing a Western-style military uniform and seated on a stool, holding a signal flag. The silhouette of a castle is visible in the background. Saigo's figure stands out against the black background, which indicates that this is a night scene and sets it apart from other examples from this series.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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