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Yoshikado Visiting the Old temple at Soma

Toyohara Kunichika

Asian Art

This triptych captures a popular climatic scene from the kabuki stage. The warrior Taro Yoshikado appears at a temple before a frog sage to ask for supernatural powers to avenge the murder of a warlord. Princess Takiyasha, the daughter of the deceased warlord, lives in hiding at the temple, honing her powers for the same purpose. She appears at the center, releasing a ghost from a chest. In this early work by Kunichika, the influence of Kunisada is clearly evident, particularly in the stylized treatment of the faces.
MEDIUM Woodblock print (in color)
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 1858, 8th month
    PERIOD Edo period
    DIMENSIONS Each sheet: 13 11/16 x 9 11/16 in. (34.8 x 24.6 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Publisher: Moriya Jihei (Kinshindō)
    SIGNATURE Kunichika ga 国周画
    INSCRIPTIONS Date seal: Dragon 8
    CREDIT LINE Gift of The Honorable and Mrs. Richard Palmer
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Japanese title: Sōma Yoshikado kodera no zu相馬良門古寺之図 Triptych. Scene from a Kabuki ghost play depicting a samurai seated in left panel, a woman standing over a tansu opened to reveal an apparition in the center panel, and a man to right in the right panel. Yoshikado is 12th century (Heian) hero, the son of the traitor general Masakado of the Heike clan, who was beheaded after an attempt to seize power. Yasha-hime is his sister, the witch princess Takiyasha, who developed magical powers (with the help of a magic toad) in attempt to assist brother in revenging her father's killing. Story told in several Kabuki plays, including Masakado, but this image isn't an illustration of that play. Condition: Good. Artist's signature: Kunichika ga Date Seal: Dragon 8 Publisher's Mark: Tsurushin Moriji
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Toyohara Kunichika (Japanese, 1835–1900). Yoshikado Visiting the Old temple at Soma, 1858, 8th month. Woodblock print (in color), Each sheet: 13 11/16 x 9 11/16 in. (34.8 x 24.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Honorable and Mrs. Richard Palmer, 75.121 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 75.121_center_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
    IMAGE detail, center, 75.121_center_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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