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UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)
PROPERTY FROM THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS, SOLD TO SUPPORT ART ACQUISITIONS AND COLLECTIONS CARE
UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)

The Ghosts of the Taira Attack Yoshitsune in Daimotsu Bay

Details
UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI (1797-1861)
The Ghosts of the Taira Attack Yoshitsune in Daimotsu Bay
Woodblock print, triptych, each signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga, published by Enshuya Hikobei, circa 1849-53
Vertical oban triptych: 14 1/8 x 9 ¾ in. (35.9 x 24.8 cm.) each approx.
(3)
Provenance
Raymond A. Bidwell (1876-1954), Springfield, Massachusetts
Literature
The Raymond A. Bidwell Collection of Prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Massachusetts: The Raymond A. Bidwell and Bertha U. Bidwell Fund, 1968), pl. 98.
Exhibited
“Ukiyo-e from The Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA”, exh. cat. p. 93, no. 24, exhibited at the following venues:
Itabashi Art Museum, Tokyo, 4 June-3 July, 1994
Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, 16 July-21 August, 1994
Yokkaichi Municipal Museum, Mie Prefecture, 1 September-4 October, 1994
Joan Whitney Payson Gallery of Art, Portland, Maine, 25 February-9 April, 1989

Brought to you by

Takaaki Murakami
Takaaki Murakami Vice President, Specialist and Head of Department

Lot Essay

This powerful design fills the space allowed by the triptych format to brilliant affect. The work depicts the ghosts of the Taira family exacting revenge upon Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159-89) following their brutal defeat during a historic battle at Daimotsu Bay. The ghosts of the Taira clan are hauntingly silhouetted against a dark sky as they attack Yoshitsune’s ship and the troops can be seen frantically lowering the boat’s sails as the gigantic waves rise up ominously around them. The noh play Funa Benkei [Benkei in the Boat] recounts this episode, which eventually ends well for Yoshitsune and his men due to Yoshitsune’s faithful retainer, the monk Benkei, who offers prayers to the gods of the sea, causing the angry ghosts to disappear and the storm to calm, allowing the ship to continue on its journey.
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