Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
Chronicles of the Toyotomi Clan: Picture of the Water-Seige of Takamatsu Castle
(Toyotomi kunkoki: Takamatsu-jo mizuseme no zu)
signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu, with publisher's seal Shiba, Yamajin (Yamashiroya Jinbei of Sansendo), and combined censor and date seal U-roku, aratame (year of the hare , 6th lunar month, examined)
oban tate-e triptych 14 3/8 by 29 1/2 in., 36.6 by 75 cm
This composition depicts the 1582 Battle of Bitchu-Takamatsu, a decisive battle of the Sengoku Period (1467-1603) which helped shape the future career of daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598). The three central figures are identified, from right to left, with their kabuki names as Mashiba Chikuzen-no-kami Hisakichi (the historic Toyotomi Hideyoshi), Sato Toranosuke Masakiyo (the historic Kato Kiyomasa; 1561-1611), and Orio Mosuke Yoshiharu (the historic Horio Yoshiharu; 1542-1611), all important retainers of Hideyoshi.
The Takamatsu Castle of Bitchu province, controlled by the rival Mori clan, stood in the way of Hideyoshi's desired northward expansion. When negotiations failed to prevent conflict, Hideyoshi ordered that a dyke be built on the nearby Ashinorigawa River, curving the river around the castle for a length of 2.8 kilometers. The structure, which measured 22 meters at its base and has a height of 7.3 meters, was built in twelve short days. Soon, the entire valley surrounding the castle was flooded, forcing the hand of the Mori clan and the surrender of the castle's forces. The sandbags and stout wooden structure of the dyke stands between Hideyoshi's gathering forces and the lapping waves of the artificial lake. Save for a few trees whose top leaves are visible above the water, all that remains of the valley is the castle, within whose walls Yoshitoshi depicts an array of enemy banners.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 25
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 374, no. 193
Robert Schaap, Appendix II in Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Fries Collection, 2011, p. 167, no. 94 (illus.)
Stephen Turnbull, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 2011, pp. 21-23 (re: battle)
MFA, Boston, accession no. 11.37581a-c
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