Yoshiiku: Chapter 4: Yugao; Samurai and Gourd-Vines 四 夕顔 武智光秀

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Artist: Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Title: Chapter 4: Yugao; Samurai and Gourd-Vines 四 夕顔 武智光秀  Date: 1863
Series: Modern Parodies of Genji 今様擬源氏 

We see Takechi Mitsuhide wearing samurai armor and looking around with apprehension in this nighttime scene. He is holding a sharpened bamboo stick in his hand, his visage a deathly pale blue. His hand is on the gate of a garden, and hanging gourd-vines are shown in bloom above. Akechi Mitsuhide was a historical figure who was a general of the Sengoku period in the late 16th century. In the Edo period kabuki plays that centered on the historical figure, such as “Badarai no Mitsuhide” (written in 1808), the warrior’s name is changed to Akechi Mitsuhide to comply with censorship laws. The Yugao chapter of Genji centers on the beautiful maiden who was a lover of Genji who lives in a house covered by flowering yugao blossoms. How this Genji chapter relates to the Mitsuhide image was a complex puzzle that no doubt delighted the original buyers of these works. The small image in the upper cartouche was done by Miyagi Gengyo.  

The poem reads: Yorite koso/ sore ka to mo mime/ tasogare ni/ honobono mitsuru/ hana no yûgao. 

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Mint.
Dimensions: ôban (36.4 x 24.5 cm)
Signed: Ikkeisai Yoshiiku ga
Publisher: Omiya Kyujiro (Kiyudo)
Literature: See MFA website online for their impression.