Portraits of Loyal Samurai: Nakamura Kansuke Masatatsu

Maker(s)
Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1797-1861)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 12/1852
Medium
Woodblock print; ink, color and hand-applied color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 35.8 x 25 cm (14 1/8 x 9 13/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.193
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

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

This print comes from a set illustrating the forty-seven loyal samurai who served Asano Naganori (1665-1701), lord of Ako, a domain in Harima Province (modern Hyogo Prefecture). The historic events that attracted public sympathy and inspired puppet and kabuki plays and print series began in 1701, when Asano was provoked to draw his sword in the shogun's castle during a quarrel with Kira Yoshinaka (d. 1703). For this violation of protocol, Asano was ordered to commit suicide, and his retainers became ronin. The forty-seven samurai waited until an appointed date nearly two years later when they planned to meet at Kira's residence and kill him to avenge their master's death; in the end they were ordered to commit suicide themselves.

Here Nakamura Kansuke Masatatsu raises his sword as he averts a hibachi that has been hurled at him, spewing ash.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 93, pp. 242-245.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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