Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797 – 1861)




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A fine and very rare vertical triptych of Mongaku ( Endo Morito, c. 1120 – 1200 ) subjecting himself to three years penance as a Buddhist monk beneath the waterfall of Mount Nachi in Kii Province. Morito inflicted this punishment on himself because he had inadvertently cut off the head of Kesa Gozen, the wife of the palace guard Watanabe Wataru, with whom he was in love. At the top of the design is Fudo Myo-o, the guardian deity of waterfalls, and at the bottom and top right are Seitaka and Kongara ( doji of Fudo ). This subject lends itself to some wonderful designs: See this website for a rare horizontal triptych by Yoshitoshi , and there are many single sheets by various artists. The vertical triptych format is rare: It was more convenient to view prints in the horizontal and it was difficult to insert into albums, the top sheets having to be heavily trimmed to fit. ( This impression is as published – completely untrimmed. ) Published by Sumiyoshiya Masagoro, c. 1851. Ex B. W. Robinson collection. This impression illustrated in his book Kuniyoshi, The Warrior Prints, 1982, pl. 64 ( Robinson T253 ). Another example of the same state – ex Pulverer collection – is illustrated in Heroes and Ghosts, Robert Schaap, p. 1998, no. 87, p. 102.


Fine impression and colour. Minor creases, otherwise very good condition. Untrimmed with extra paper for the sheets to join. There are two states of the print: As here with an extra block printing the waves at base of fall, and without. Both are known as fine impressions, although the version without appears to be slightly earlier. Signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga.



Status: Sold




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