Kitagawa Utamaro, 1753-1806
Treasury of Loyal Retainers: Act Six
signed Utamaro hitsu, with publisher's seal Eijudo (Nishimuraya Yohachi), ca. 1801-02
oban tate-e 15 1/4 by 10 1/2 in., 38.8 by 26.7 cm
This series likens various famous scenes from the wildly popular kabuki drama, Chushingura ('Treasure of Loyal Retainers'), to vignettes from the everyday lives of the people of Edo. The primary composition of three figures illustrates a geisha tying a sash at her waist in preparation to depart for an assignation. A maid kneels by her side while holding a lantern and the background a male servant ties a green furoshiki cloth around her shamisen box. In the inset panel, a scene from the Chushingura likewise depicts three characters: the heroine Okaru preparing to depart for the Ichirikiya teahouse as she has been sold to the brothel, leaving behind her distressed elderly mother, and her husband Kampei, who at that moment believes (mistakenly) that he has inadvertently killed an ally with his gun which is on the floor in front of him. At the conclusion of the scene Kampei commits seppuku, but does not die before it is revealed that he was not responsible for the murder.
Kiyoshi Shibui, Ukiyo-e Zuten Utamaro, 1964, no. 165.2.2
Gina Collia-Suzuki, The Complete Woodblock Prints of Kitagawa Utamaro, A Descriptive Catalogue, 2009, pp. 51-53
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 21.16
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
August 4, 2020
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...