Kuniyoshi: Iga Jutaro and Rabbit (Sold)
Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1851)
Title: Iga Jutaro and Rabbit
Series: Brave Warriors for the Chinese Twelve Animal Zodiac (Buyu mitate junishi)
Date: c. 1840s
Iga Jutarô (伊賀寿太郎), was an elderly retainer of the shogun Sôma Kotaro Yoshikado. Yoshidako’s sister Takiyasha was apparently known for practicing dark magic to avenge the death of her father. Jutaro is pictured here doing something quite strange within the precincts of a Buddhist temple. It would have been considered a terrible sin to take the life of such an innocent creature as a hare within temple grounds, so he must be in the process of conducting a black magic, anti-Buddhist ritual involving the sacrifice of the animal. He holds a very large knife and suspends the rabbit above a large container, seeming to be poised to collect its blood. A fire burns nearby; it might be necessary for the subsequent steps of the ritual. This is an interesting scene and character for Kuniyoshi to have chosen to illustrate a heroic comparison, or mitate. The oversized spiderweb at top may be intended to make the scene more creepy, or it could indicate that the temple is an abandoned one.Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Untrimmed and unbacked.
Publisher: Minatoya Kohei (Kinseido)
Literature: Robinson 1982, S17.4. See MFA, BM, FAMSF.
Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga