Kuniyoshi 国芳: Yamamoto Kansuke Wrestling a Boar 忠孝名誉奇人伝 山本勘助

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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi 国芳 (1798-1861)
Title: Yamamoto Kansuke Wrestling a Boar  忠孝名誉奇人伝 山本勘助
Series: Stories of Remarkable Persons of Loyalty and High Reputation 忠考名誉奇人傳 (Chuko meijo kijin den)
Date: 1845

Yamamoto Kansuke wrestles an enormous boar to the ground with his bare hands. He was a 16th century samurai who was known as one of the Twenty-four Generals of Takeda Shingen. He was known as a brilliant strategist, and was famed for his exceptional bravery and fierceness.  Grabbing a single tusk of the boar with both hands, Kansuke has forced the giant beast to the ground with his raw strength. We sense the immediacy of the drama, with part of his woven traveling outfit flying up in the air and his pole having just been loosed from his hand. His fierce expression is a terrific focal point, and the red eye of the helpless boar is also a dramatic touch. Grey lead pigment overlays the snow that lies thick on the ground.

According to Schaap in "Heroes & Ghosts", Yamamoto Kansuke was one of Kuniyoshi's favorite heroes, and the artist depicted him at least fifteen times in his woodblock prints. 

A scarce and exceptional design.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Untrimmed and unbacked. Soft stain on recto that shows through a bit on the boar’s fur. Otherwise an exceptional example of this famous design.

Reference: See British Museum Collection. Robinson (1982) S35 no. 16. See "Heroes & Ghosts" (1998), number 55, page 78.
Dimensions: ôban (37.5 x 25.5 cm)
Publisher: Iseya Ichiemon.
Seal: kiri
Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga