Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
Five Preparatory Drawings with Poems
ink on paper, each signed Yoshitoshi ga, ca. 1859
8 1/2 by 6 1/2 in., 21.6 by 16.5 cm
These five drawings to be prepatory works for a chuban-sized series that apparently was never published. The signature is similar to that of some of Yoshitoshi's earliest known prints from the 1850s. The theme of the group appears to be a pairing of a known subject with a poem, perhaps an amusing take on a moral tale.
The most dynamic design with the figure riding backwards on a boar whilst it tramples upon an unfortunately soldier appears to illustrate the story of Yamamoto Kansuke famously killing a wild boar. Yoshitoshi depicts this scene in amplified way in a triptych published in 1868 with a similar boar in the center sheet and many more figures flying around the stampeding boar to fill up the left and right sheets.
Another recognizable subject is that of Terutehime pulling her crippled husband (who she does not yet realize is her husband returned from the dead) on a cart, a subject depicted by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), Yoshitoshi's teacher, as part of his 1841/42 series, Stories of Wise Women and Faithful Wives; and by Utagwa Hiroshige (1797-1858) and Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) in the Fujisawa composition for the 'Two Brush' Tokaido series in 1854.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Herbert R. Cole Collection, accession no. M.84.31.446a-c (Yamamoto Kansuke triptych, 1868)
The British Museum, Arthur R. Miller Collection, accession no. 2008,3037.15619 (Kuniyoshi, Princess Terute)
Andreas Marks, Kunisada's Tokaido: Riddles in Japanese Woodblock Prints, 2013, p. 194, no. T79-07 (Kunisada/Hiroshige tokaido print, 1854)
Tsuruoka Family Collection (the artist and art dealer Tokutaro 'Kakunen' Tsuruoka, 1892-1977)
(inv. no. C-1394)
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