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Tsukioka Yoshitoshi


New Selection of Eastern Brocade Pictures: The Story of Tamiya Botaro
(Shinsen axuma nishiki-e: Tamiya Botaro no hanashi)

signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Taiso, carver's seal Wada Hori Yu, dated Meiji jukyunen, sangatsu, nika (Meiji 19 [1886], March 2nd), artist's address seal 2 Suga-cho, Asakusa-ku, and publisher's address seal Tokyo Nihonbashi Bakurocho Nichome 14-banchi, shuppanjin Tsunajima Kamekichi of Tsunajima Kamekichi of Kinkido

oban tate-e diptych 14 3/8 by 18 3/4 in., 36.5 by 47.6 cm

The child Tamiya Botaro watches his nurse Otsuji haul a bucket of water from a well. Adapted from a historical revenge killing which occurred in 1642, Botaro's story is told in the popular kabuki play A Child's Revenge (Osanago no adauchi). In the play, the infant Botaro's father Tamiya Ganpachiro is murdered by an envious fencing master. Orphaned, Botaro falls under the dedicated guardianship of Otsuji and trains with the tengu to be a master swordsman. At age seventeen, Botaro finally kills the fencing master, thus avenging his father's death. Though Botaro is the protagonist of the kabuki show, it is Otsuji who commands the composition's attention. By illustrating her exertion at lifting the heavy bucket, Yoshitoshi reminds us of the struggles Otsuji faced and the sacrifices she made to raise and provide for the young warrior.

Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892, 1983, p. 469, no. 479.14
Andreas Marks, Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Compendium, 2011, pp. 313-314, no. 549
Yuriko Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi, 2014, p. 131, no. 192

price: Sold


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site last updated
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Scholten Japanese Art
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New York, New York 10019
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