Hokui: Taira no Kiyomori Haunted by Ghosts (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Katsushika Hokui (active ca. 1830s-40s)
Title: Taira no Kiyomori Haunted by the Ghosts of his Enemies
Date: Ca. 1830s

Taira no Kiyomori at his palace in Fukuhara is haunted by the ghosts of his slain enemies. Kiyomori was a ruthless 12th c. leader who was responsible for the deaths of many people. According to the Buddhist teachings on karma, he would suffer greatly for his misdeeds in the afterlife. Shortly before his death in 1181, Kiyomori suffered visions during a fever where everything that he saw took the form of a skull. Hiroshige and Yoshitoshi both created designs with this theme, with the snowy landscape of the castle grounds appearing as a landscape of skulls, Here the artist has instead created an apparition of skeletons descending from a grey cloud, their Minamoto leader standing atop a huge skull and pile of bones. The warriors surrounding Kiyomori wear garments with the Taira clan mon (crest) of the swallowtail butterfly, and in the visages of a number of them we can see the influence of Hokui’s teacher, Hokusai. There is a ghost triptych by this artist in the MFA, showing the Ghosts of the Heike in Daimotsu Bay. 

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Some areas of pigment transfer.
Dimensions: ôban triptych
Signature:---Hokui hitsu