Yoshitoshi 芳年: Ito Yosota and the Cat Demon of Saga 伊東 與惣太

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 芳年 (1839-1892)
Title: Ito Yosota and the Cat Demon of Saga 伊東 與惣太
Series: Tales of the Floating World on Eastern Brocade 東錦浮世稿談 (Azuma no nishiki ukiyo kodan) Date: 1867

From the tale of the Cat Demon of Saga, written by Segawa Joko III in 1853 and staged at the Nakamura theater the following year. The plot concerns the Nabeshima family and the Saga domain in the 16th c., and involves a bakeneko (demon cat) that assumes the appearance of the lord of Saga’s consort. This bakeneko torments the lord night after night, so he orders a night watch to protect him from the demon. His guards repeatedly succumb  to sleep, until the stalwart Ito Sota volunteers. While on guard in the house of his lord during the night, the samurai Itō Yosōta  (Sôta) stabs himself in his right thigh to keep himself awake. Yoshitoshi has chosen the moment of truth, when the spectral demon cat shows its true form, appearing in the darkness on the threshold of the room. One of the best designs in the series, and one seldom seen. 

Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. Trimmed just a tiny bit at top.  Dimensions: ôban (35.5 x 24 cm)
Publisher: Masuda-ya
Literature: See “Beauty & Violence”; listed on page 105 as 20.14. Keyes 202.14.
Seal: censor’s seal “aratame” with date seal of Rabbit Year (1867)
Signature: Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi