Kuniyoshi 国芳: Station Fushimi; Tokiwa Gozen Escaping with Children in the Snow
Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)
Title: Station Fushimi: Tokiwa Gozen Escaping with Children in the Snow
Series: Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidô Road 木曾街道六十九次之内
Tokiwa Gozen was the mother of the hero Minamoto Yoshitsune as well as a famously beautiful court lady, and Kuniyoshi here illustrates a famous episode from her life. Her husband Yoshitomo died at the hands of the enemy Taira clan in 1159, and Tokiwa Gozen fled Kyoto with her boys to spare them from capture. During her escape she was caught in a snowstorm near Fushimi, also the name of this Tokaido station. Here we see Tokiwa Gozen crouching down to put her traveling hat over the head of the oldest boy, her pink cloak that is wrapped around them being buffeted by the wind. Yoshitsune is here just a baby, and we only see his tiny head clasped close to her chest. The middle boy is stifling a giggle, it seems, as perhaps he sees this as a fun adventure. The cartouche that illustrates the station at top left is in the outline of a flying bird, perhaps a plover. There is blindprinting on her cloak to indicate luxurious brocade.
Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. Minor binding holes at left and smudge near right edge.
Dimensions: ôban (36 x 24.5 cm)
Publisher: Hayashiya Shôgorô
Literature: See Sarah Thompson’s “The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidô”, figure 51, page 118. See MFA. Robinson S74. 52.
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga