Yoshitoshi 芳年: Explosion at Masakiyo's Challenging Battle

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: Masakiyo’s Challenging Battle (Masakiyo nansen no zu)
Date: 1866

A massive exploding mine throws bodies tumbling into the air. Note how graphically modern the explosion looks, with jets of flame interspersed with whorls of smoke and smaller starbursts. The jets of flame have been printed with several types of lead pigment which have oxidized to imitate a scorching fire. Although the setting is putatively one of the 14th c. Taiheiki battles, Keyes suggested that it alludes to actions against rebel samurai in Choshu province during the summer of 1866. Another layer is that the figure on horseback on the right is named Masakiyo, a veiled reference to Kato Kiyomasa (1562-1611).  One of Yoshitoshi’s greatest early triptychs.

Condition: Excellent impression and color; very good condition. Folds at 1 cm from left of each sheet and some backing remnants, verso.
Dimensions: ôban triptych (36.8 x 73.5 cm)
Publisher: Yamajin
Literature: See Met Museum website. Keyes #178. See “Yoshitoshi” (2011), cat. 44, page 82. See MET Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, NYPL, FAMSF.
Seal: Kiri
Signature: Ikkeisai Yoshitoshi hitsu