Kazusanosuke Hirotsune from the series One of the Eight Hundred Heroes of the Water Margin of Japan (Honchō Suikoden gōketsu happyakunin no hitori)

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1798-1861)
Publisher: Kagaya Kichiemon (Seiseidō) 加賀屋吉右衛門 ((active ca. 1815 – 1850))
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1830
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 37.6 x 25.5 cm (14 13/16 x 10 1/16 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), fox, hero, Japan, ukiyo-e, warrior
Provenance research underway.

After the publication of his popular series of prints based on the Chinese novel The Water Margin, Kuniyoshi began a series ambitiously titled Eight Hundred Heroes of a Japanese Water Margin, All Told. The series, which was not completed, features Japanese heroes. Here Kazusanosuke Hirotsune overcomes a supernatural nine-tailed fox. The fox was believed to be capable of transforming herself into beautiful women in order to seduce powerful men and lure them toward disaster. In this spectacular composition, the fox's fur, a tour de force of fine block engraving, fills the background.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 77, pp. 202-3, 208-9.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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