Toshihide: Picture of Yamaoka Tsutaro Towards the West (Yamaoka tetsujirô Saijô no zu) (Sold)
Title: Picture of Yamaoka Tsutaro Towards the West (Yamaoka tetsujirô Saijô no zu)
Series: Pictorial Scroll of the Nation’s History (Kokushi Emaki)
Date: October 1891
Yamaoka “Tesshû”, also knowna s Tetsutarô (1836-1888) was a famous politician as well as swordsman during the transitional period of the fall of the shogun and the establishment of the ruling Meiji emperor. During the Bashin Battles of 1868 he acted as a mediator between Katsu Kaishû and Saigo Takamori to negotiate a peaceful takover from the bakufu, namely to open Edo Castle and remove the last shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837-1913). This picture depicts Tetsurô on horseback, rushing to bring Katsu’s message to Saigô, who was leading a large number of troops towards Edo, and the western direction. According to the text on this triptych, the shogun has retreated to Temple Kan’ei-ji in Ueno to awat further instruction. When Tatsutarô was to leave, the shogun himself presented him with a sword.