Yoshitoshi: Warrior with Bloody Severed Heads (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title: Mori Rikimaru and Two Severed Heads
Series: Yoshitoshi’s Selection of One Hundred Warriors (Kaidai hyaku sensô)魁題 百 撰相
Date: 1868

Môri Rikimaru has slung around his neck two very bloody severed heads. His coloring suggests the near-death experience of battle--he is as grey as a ghost except for his bloodshot eyes. The soldiers depicted in this series are given identities from pre-Edo period Japan to circumvent the ban on modern history. The men portrayed are actually from the battle that Yoshitoshi witnessed firsthand in 1868 between the shogunate loyalists and the Imperial forces that were fighting on behalf of the new Meiji government. The 2000 loyalist forces were overwhelmed, but Yoshitoshi felt an alliance with them in terms of their bravery  and self-sacrifice. This is considered one of Yoshitoshi’s most graphically brutal series, and was completed soon after the Meiji Restoration. The dark areas of blood have an additional substance applied to them to give the blood a shiny finish that looks more realistic. This may be considered a first edition due to these embellishments.

Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. With minor backing remnants, verso.
Dimensions: ôban (35.9 x 25 cm)
Publisher: Ohashi
Literature: Beauty & Violence, series #22.29. See Scripps College Collection of Japanese prints online.

Signature: Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu