Kidomaru and Moon

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Title:  Kidomaru and Moon
Series:  Brave Warriors for the Chinese Twelve Animal Zodiac (Buyu mitate junishi)
Date: c. 1840's

The bandit Kidomaru, a former warrior, lies in wait to confront Minamoto no Yorimitsu (948-1021), the warrior hero whom he had previously refused to serve. Having turned to serving villains, such as the demon Shuten Doji, who lived in the mountains and devoured young noble women who had been kidnapped from Kyoto, Kidomaru became a bandit who ambushed his victims by disguising himself in animal skins. In this print Kidomaru uses an ox skin as his disguise. His demoniacal features are reflected in the water as he hides on the moor, Ichiharano. The beauty of the landscape, with the white form of the full moon and the grasses represented by unprinted paper, contributes to the poignancy of the lonely villain who does not realize that he will soon die in the combat he eagerly awaits.(Description from Freer/Sackler Gallery website).

Condition:  Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: 37.8 x 12.5 cm 
Publisher:  Minatoya Kohei (Kinseido)

Literature:  Robinson S17.2. Robert T. Singer. The Life of Animals in Japanese Art. Exh. cat. Princeton, NJ. p 48, fig 10B. Ann Yonemura with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 81, p. 214-5, 218-19. See Honolulu Museum of Art website, Michener Collection.

Signature: Chorosai  Kuniyoshi ga


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