Seigen and Princess Sakura

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

Valor in China and Japan: Seigen and Princess Sakura
(Wakan goki-zoroi: Seigen, Sakurahime)

signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu, with publisher's seal Daisada (Osada), carver's seal Hori Ushi, and combined censor and date seal Tatsu-shi, aratame (year of the dragon [1868], 4th lunar month, examined)

chuban tate-e 9 5/8 by 6 7/8 in., 24.5 by 17.5 cm

The decrepit monk Seigen looks up at his lover, Sakura-hime. Though details of their story varied depending on the retelling, the heart of the story is consistent. Seigen is a monk who breaks his vow of celibacy out of his love for the beautiful princess. However, their romance is ill-fated, and both figures die tragically.

Yoshitoshi revisited the subject in 1889 with a masterful composition of the Depravity of Monk Seigen in the vertical diptych format.

Reference:
Keyes 1983, p. 379, no. 211.7

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