Utagawa Kuniyoshi


One Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Shuihuzhuan: Henmeisanro Sekishu, the Reckless Third Son
(Tsuzoku Suikoden goketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori: Henmeisanro Sekishu)

signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga, publisher's seal Kichi, Ryogoku, Kagaya (Kagaya Kichiemon of Seiseido), censor's seal Kiwame, ca. 1830

oban tate-e 14 7/8 by 10 1/8 in., 37.8 by 25.7 cm

This composition depicts Henmeisanro Sekishu (in Chinese, Shi Xiu) from the Suikoden (The Tales of the Water Margin) pinning the monk Haijokai down with his foot at the entrance to the house of Byokansaku Yoyu, a local police chief. At the beginning of this episode, Sekishu had been down on his luck and was reduced to selling grass for a living. However, Chief Yoyu owed Sekishu a favor and invited him to spend a few days as a house guest. Soon after arriving, Sekishu realized that Yoyu's wife was having an affair with the monk Haijokai who came for intimate visits whenever the police chief was away. Haijokai was assisted by a fellow-priest who would beat a drum to alert the monk as to when it was safe to enter and exit the house. Sekishu confronted the accomplice, killed him, took his drum (here in the form of a gong), donned his robes, and lay in wait for Haijokai. Seeing the monk approaching, Sekishu used the drum to draw the monk into the open before arresting him with his foot and stabbing him to death.

Inge Klompmakers, Of Brigands and Bravery: Kuniyoshi's Heroes of the Suikoden, 1998, p. 95, cat. no. 23
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.16475

price: Sold


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