Kunisada: General Zhao Yun, One of the Five Tiger Generals (Goko shôgun no uchi: Chôun) (Sold)

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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada
Title: General Zhao Yun, One of the Five Tiger Generals (Goko shôgun no uchi: Chôun)
Series: From Five Brightly Colored Banners (Goku saishiki gohon nobori no uchi)
Date: Tempo era (ca. 1835-37)

The Five Tiger Generals were heroes in the Chinese historical novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms (called Sangokushi engi in Japanese) which was written by Luo Guan Zhong in the fourteenth century, based on Record of Three Kingdoms (called Sangokushi in Japanese) wrriten by Chen Shou in the third century. Romance of the Three Kingdoms covers the turbulent years from the end of Han Dynasty, starting AD169 and ending with the reunification of Three Kingdoms, Kingdom of Wei, Shu, and Wu in 280, when the Jing Dynasty became the defacto ruling dynasty in China. The Five Tiger Generals were generals of Kingdom of Shu: Guan Yu (? - 219), Zhang Fei (166-221), Zhao Yun (?-229), Ma Chao (176-222) and Huang Zhang (?-220). For most of his career, Zhao Yun served the war lord Liu Bei, playing a part in the establishment of Shu Han. This print shows him with Liu Bei’s infant son Liu Shan in his arm. His horse seems to be plunging downward into a smoky unknown, but he shows fierce determination and directs the point of his sword towards the unseen danger. In 208 Zhao Yun distinguished himself at the Battle of Changban. Liu Bei was fleeing in the chaos, he left his family behind. Then Zhao Yun disappeared to the north. It raised suspicion that he had surrendered to Cao Cao, the war lord of Kingdom Wei. However Liu Bei believed in Zhao Yun’s loyalty. Zhao Yun came back with Liu Bei’s son, Liu Shan and wife, Lady Gan. With this Zhao Yun was promoted to General of the Standard. The set of five images was designed to match Kunisadas series of Japanese warriors, Banners for Parlor Decorations (Gohi zashiki nobori) .

Dimensions: vertical nagaban
Publisher: Kinridô (Moriya Jihei)
Literature: Ref.:“Kunisada’s World” Japan Society, Inc. New York, 1993. p.165
Seal: his seal: Hanabusa Ittai; Censor’s seal kiwame
Signature: Kôchôrô Kunisada ga