Dawn Moon and Tumbling Snow

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

One Hundred Aspects of the Moon: Dawn Moon and Tumbling Snow; Kobayashi Heihachiro
(Tsuki hyakushi: Seppu no gyogetsu; Kobayashi Heihachiro)

with burnishing on his black robe, signed Yoshitoshi with artist's seal Go Kaisai, carved by Yoshihisa, and publisher's date and address seal Meiji nijuninen, -gatsu, -ka; Nihonbashi-ku Muromachi Sanchome 9-banchi, insatsu ken hakkosha Akiyama Buemon (Meiji 22 [1889]) of Akiyama Buemon of Kokkeido

oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 9 1/2 in., 35.9 by 24 cm

The warrior Kobayashi Heihachiro is captured in the final act of the famous play The Treasury of Loyal Retainers (Chushingura), or as it is popularly remembered, The Forty-Seven Ronin. Heihachiro was not one of the 'loyal retainers,' however; he fought in the service of the villainous Ko Moronao. In one of the many dramatic fight sequences during Act XI, The Vendetta Scene (Koke uchiiri no ba), Heihachiro and two others stand guard before Moronao's private room as Rikiya, the son of the ronin's leader, and three other ronin approach. The sequence, performed as a dance and set beside a snow-covered pond, was one of the few fights to be directly adapted from the historical vendetta on which the play was based. Both Heihachiro and Rikiya fight valiantly, but ultimately it is the ronin who overpower Heihachiro and his comrades. Heihachiro defeated, Rikiya enters Moronao's quarters and confronts the villain of the play.

References:
Halford & Halford 1956, p. 164 (re: fight scene)
Keyes 1983, p. 466, no. 478.78
van den Ing & Schaap 1992, p. 135, no. 54.78
Stevenson 2001, no. 79
Ota Memorial Museum of Art 2009, p. 38, no. 2.79

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