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Princess Takiyasha Calling up a Monstrous Skeleton Specter at the Old Palace in Soma Princess Takiyasha Calling up a Monstrous Skeleton Specter at the Old Palace in Soma

c. 1845-46 (Koka 2-3)/Color woodblock print on paper (triptych)

37.5 x 25.1 cm, 37.5 x 25.4 cm, 37.5 x 25.9 cm

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SUMMARY

This print, which was based on Santo Kyoden’s book The Legend of the Loyalty of the Hornbilled Puffin, is one of Kuniyoshi’s masterpieces. The old palace of Soma was a residence built by Soma no Kojiro, also known as Taira no Masakado in Shimosa Province. It was devastated during Masakado’s rebellion and became deserted. Masakado’s orphaned children, Princess Takiyasha and Yoshikado, who were endowed with black magic, recruited their associates to the abandoned residence in accordance with their father’s dying will, and before long it became haunted by yokai (evil spirits or monsters). Oya Taro Mitsukuni, a vassal of Minamoto no Yorinobu who knew of this, exterminated the yokai and put a stop to their plot. Although several skeletons appear in the original work, Kuniyoshi succeeded in creating a composition with intensity by replacing them with one giant skeleton.

ARTIST

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Utagawa Kuniyoshi1797-1861

Attracted the attention of Utagawa Toyokuni I with his drawing of Zhong Kui (Shoki) at age twelve, and soon became a disciple of Toyokuni’s. He fell on hard times in his 20s, but at 31 published One hundred and eight heroes of the popular Suikoden. This gained him popularity, and he came to be called “Warrior Print Kuniyoshi”. He did everything well, from actors and beautiful women to landscapes, but in particular, his triptych panoramas of warriors or historical scenes as well as his witty caricatures snatched the hearts of the general public. He gathered many excellent pupils with his natural leadership, including Ochiai Yoshiiku, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, and Kawanabe Kyosai.

List of artworks by the same artist

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