Kuniyoshi: Shojusho (Chu Shou-ch-ang)

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Title: Shojusho (Chu Shou-ch-ang)
Series: The Twenty-four Chinese paragons of filial piety (Morokoshi nijû-shi kô)
Date: 1848

Here we see Chu Shou-ch’ang, who was separated from his mother as a boy of seven and later became a high government official. He retired at age 55 and began to search for his mother. After much prayer and copying a sutra using the ink of his own blood, he was able to find his mother. Here he is seated and his hat seems to have escaped from his hands; perhaps this is the moment of surprise when he finds his mother? He wears western-looking boots and a head wrap, and garments that seem neither Japanese nor Chinese. It is thought that perhaps Kuniyoshi was influenced by Italian engravings for this series. The text by Tanekazus is placed across the top of the page. This is known as the most westernized of all Kuniyoshi’s works, and in some copies the surface of the paper has been glazed or polished in imitation of European paper. The complete series includes a title-page in antique seal script, and a preface in seventy-two formal Chinese characters reserved on black, by Musa Kôjin of Kyoto. It illustrates the self-sacrificing behavior of sons and daughters who go to extreme lengths to honor their parents and older relatives.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Some mounting remnants, verso.
Dimensions: 26.1 x 18.4
Publisher: Daikwando
Literature: Robinson: Kuniyoshi, (Oxford,1982) #S60-15.
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga


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