The Military Tales of Han and Chu: Fan Kuai of the Han

Maker(s)
Artist: Utagawa Kunisada 歌川国貞 (1786-1864)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1830
Medium
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 39.2 x 26.3 cm (15 7/16 x 10 3/8 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.135
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

Keywords
Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), hero, Japan, ukiyo-e, warrior, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

Kunisada responded to the success of Kuniyoshi's first Water Margin series with prints devoted to the heroes of the historical romance The Military Tales of Han and Chu (Chinese, Han-Chu juntan; Japanese, Kan-So gundan), which includes tales of the founding of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.-23 C.E.). Here Fan Kuai (Japanese, Han Kai), a dog butcher by trade, is shown forcing his way into the enemy Xiang Yu's camp to save the warrior Gaozu (Japanese, Koso) from assassination. His fierce demeanor matches the description in the historical account of this incident: "His hair stood on end and his eyes blazed with fire." Kunisada did not equal Kuniyoshi in the design of warrior prints, and he did few designs, leaving Kuniyoshi to dominate the subject.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 74, pp. 198-201.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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