Yoshitoshi: Hideyoshi and the Head-Viewing Ceremony 眞柴 久吉 武智 主従 之 首實撿 之 圖 (真) (首実検)

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
Title: Mashiba Hisakichi (Toyotomi Hideyoshi)Identifying the Decapitated heads of Warriors of Takechi (Mashiba Hisayoshi buchi shūjū no kubijikken no zu) 眞柴 久吉 武智 主従 之 首實撿 之 圖 (真) (首実検)
Date: 1866

Unusual scene of a formal head-viewing ceremony (Kubi jikken) presided over by the military strongman Mashiba Hisayoshi (Toyotomi Hideyoshi), who is seated on a camp stool and surrounded by his retainers. A kneeling samurai holds each severed head up for inspection by Hideyoshi, who holds a fan in front of his face by custom so that the dead will not recognize him. The heads of slain enemy soldiers were collected by those who killed them so that they could claim monetary rewards and recognition. Prior to the ceremony, the heads were washed and made to look presentable; this was done by women of the samurai class. This was a once-common scene during the many wars fought in Japan prior to the Edo period; however it is not often depicted in ukiyo-e. Mashiba Hisayoshi was the alternative name used by convention (in the Kabuki theatre and elsewhere) for Hashiba Hideyoshi, an early name of the military strongman Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi is credited with unifying Japan just prior to the peaceful Edo Period, but he was stunningly ruthless in his methods in his consolidation of power.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. 
Dimensions: ôban triptych 36.2 x 74 cm
Signature: Kaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu