Kuniyoshi: Shuten Dôji  Kuniyoshi: Shuten Dôji Kuniyoshi: Shuten Dôji

Kuniyoshi: Shuten DôjiKuniyoshi: Shuten Dôji
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Kuniyoshi: Shuten DôjiKuniyoshi: Shuten Dôji
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge


Kuniyoshi: Shuten DôjiKuniyoshi: Shuten Dôji
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)

Shuten Dôji is a fearsome half-human demon and ruler of the Oni ogres of Mount Ôeyama, who, according to gruesome legend, feeds on virgins kidnapped from the city of Kyoto. Here the giant lies drowsy and defenceless in his cave, surrounded and threatened by the swords of Minamoto no Raikô (Yorimitsu) with his four loyal retainers (the Shitennô - "four heavenly kings") and Fujiwara no Yasumasa.
Since Shuten Dôji has a weakness for alcohol, as his name "Drunkard Boy" literally implies, he was previously made drunk and helpless by the heroes with magical sake. The giant's human appearance changes back to demon form, his skin reddens, his hand becomes a claw, his face deforms to one side, his hair turns red and long, and a horn grows out of his forehead. The helmeted Minamoto Raikô stands ready to cut off the demon's head and free the city from the terror of the Onis.

Untitled (the names of the heroes from top right to bottom left: Minamoto Yorimitsu - Watanabe no Tsuna - Hirai (i.e. Fujiwara) no Yasumasa - Urabe no Suetake - Sakata no Kintoki

Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga

Seal: Kiri-Mon

Publisher: Amatsu, Edo

Censors: Mera, Watanabe

Date: 1851

Size: Ôban triptych, c. 36 x 73,5 cm (total)

Excellent impression in very good colours, with the usual (and always varying) pigment oxidation in the face of the giant. Slightly trimmed, not backed, mounted separately. Along one lateral margin of each sheet smaller wormholes and stitching holes, partly restored; lower left corner of the middle sheet replaced. Some minor staining and soiling. Good condition overall. One of Kuniyoshi's masterpieces.
This is the rare variant of the famous triptych with the additional red roundels on the grey patterned kimono of the Shûten Dôji. This (early) variant so far only mentioned by Yuriko Iwakiri in: Kuniyoshi. Japanese Master of Imagined Worlds, Leiden/Boston 2013, p. 63, and illustrated in: Iwakiri Yuriko, Ukiyo-e dai musha-e ten/The Samurai World in Ukiyo-e, cat. Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2003, p. 71, no. 197.
Robinson, The Warrior-Prints, 1982, T261. Ill. Isao Toshihiko, Kuniyoshi, Tokyo Bijutsu 2008, p. 69; Utagawa Kuniyoshi, cat. Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Tokyo 2021, p. 94, no. 104; cf. also MFA Boston, 11.38216a-c. a.o.

€ 16.000,-

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