Yoshitoshi 芳年: The Gion District: Rikiya from the 47 Ronin (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) 芳年
Title: The Gion District: Rikiya from the 47 Ronin
Series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon 月百姿
Date: 1885

Here Rikiya, the young son of one of the 47 Ronin, has paused outside of the Ichiriki teahouse in the Gion district of Kyoto, quietly attempting to gain his unseen father’s attention by knocking his sword against its sheath. He holds in his right hand a letter regarding the conspiring 47 Ronin’s plotting activities for revenge.  He must quietly deliver this document to his father, who is in the teahouse itself. We see the full moon and somehow feel the unease of the moment, and Yoshitoshi’s audience would have recognized the scene from this most famous of all kabuki plays. The young man is only seventeen, and was sadly the youngest of the 47 Ronin to pay the ultimate price for his act of loyalty once the vendetta was completed. He wears the haircut of a young man and a short coat that has the (partial) contrasting black zigzag pattern that the 47 Ronin are shown wearing during their famous night attack.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: ôban 35.6 x 24 cm
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
Literature: John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (San Francisco: San Francisco Graphic Society, 1992), number 4. See British Museum, Portland Art Museum, Library of Congress.
Seal: Taiso
Signature: Yoshitoshi