Kuniyoshi 国芳: Naito Shuri Masatoyo 内藤修理昌豊 In Battle

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi 国芳 (1798-1861)
Title: Naito Shuri Masatoyo 内藤修理昌豊 In Battle
Series: One Hundred Brave Generals at the Battle of Kawanakajima [in Shinano Province] 川中嶌百勇將戦之内 (Shinshû Kawanakajima hyaku yûshio sen no uchi)
Date: ca. 1845

Naitô Shuri Masatoyo (内藤修理昌豊) is shown in battle, grasping the shaft of his naginata, wielding it against an unseen enemy. The detailed depiction of Masatoyo’s helmet and armor are exceptional. His helmet bears an elaborate maedate sculpture of Raijin, the god of thunder and his amassed clouds. Kuniyoshi did few series involving close-up portraits of samurai like this, so we can enjoy the intensity shown in the expression and the beauty of the samurai regalia. Masatoyo’s eyes have been printed with concentric grey circles within the dark pupils and blue color in the corner of the eyes for extra intensity.  In the background we see outlines of troops amassed for battle along the opposite bank of a stream, while actual battle has commenced between the shadow figures on the middle distance. This series concerns the 16th century battles between the forces of the famous enemy warlords Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin in Shinano Province.  This warrior was on the side of Takeda Shingen. A scarce design.

Condition: Excellent impression. Very good color and condition. There is a fold near the edge of the design, next to the white margin. Tiny area of wormage
Dimensions: ôban 36 x 25.2 cm
Publisher: Kazusaya Iwazô (Iwakichi)
Literature: Robinson #S34.6. 
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga