UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797–1861)
UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797–1861)
UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797–1861)
UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797–1861)
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UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797–1861)

Minamoto Yorimitsu ko no yakata ni tsuchigumo yokai o nasu zu (The Earth Spider generates monsters at the Mansion of Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu)

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UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797–1861)
Minamoto Yorimitsu ko no yakata ni tsuchigumo yokai o nasu zu (The Earth Spider generates monsters at the Mansion of Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu)
Woodblock prints, each sheet signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga, published by Ibaya Senzaburo, 1843
Vertical oban triptych: 14 5/8 x 10 in. (37.1 x 25.4 cm.) each approx.
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Takaaki Murakami(村上高明) Vice President, Specialist and Head of Department | Korean Art

Lot Essay

The evil Earth Spider conjures up a battle of demons to torment the unwell Raiko (Yorimitsu) in his sleep (far right), whilst his retainers play go. This design got Kuniyoshi into trouble with the authorities because it was felt that it was a caricature of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi (ruled 1837-53) and his hated chief minister, Mizuno Tadakuni (1794-1851). As a result the blocks were destroyed. Despite the controversy, soon after the print's popularity resulted in two pirated versions being produced from completely re-cut blocks, each with notable differences when compared to the original. This print is the original version. For a detailed comparison of the different versions see T. Clark, Kuniyoshi: From the Arthur R. Miller Collection, (Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2009), cat. 124 and 125, p. 268-269.

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