Kuniyoshi: Kidô Maru stabbing a serpent
Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Title: Kidô Maru stabbing a serpent
Date: ca. 1843
Kidô Maru stabs a giant serpent with a snake-wrapped sword, his hands in a magical mudra. He is enveloped in magical flames and holds aomatsuba (wrapped pine-sprigs) in his mouth. His eyes glow bloodshot red as do the serpent’s. Four karasu tengu watch from below, laws outstretched. Robinson describes the scene as Kidô Maru learning magic from the tengu. Rare. Design is on the front cover of Robinson’s “Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints.” This version does not have the extra block on the body of Kidô Maru, but has the same “white” Tanaka seal and is a very early impression. Note the woodgrain evident on the brown block on the figure’s right leg.
Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Very minor repairs near edge.
Dimensions: ôban (36.8 x 25.5 cm)
Publisher: Tsutaya Kichizô
Literature: “Kuniyoshi: The Warrior Prints” by BW Robinson, S1f.1. This is the dust jacket cover image and is also shown in color, plate 12.
Seal: Sealed with the same seal (Tanaka?) as shown in Robinson; this was carved in negative space from the green block above the publisher’s mark. Other versions show the censor’s seal that is part of the black keyblock.
Signature: Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga