Sugino Jūheiji Tsugifusa from the series Portraits of the Faithful Samurai of True Loyalty (Seichū gishi shōzō)

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1798-1861)
Publisher: Sumiyoshiya Masagorō 吉屋政五郎
Block carver: Yokokawa Takejirō (Hori Take)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1852, 12th month
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 37.5 x 25.6 cm (14 3/4 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), haiku, Japan, oban, portrait, samurai, ukiyo-e, warrior
Provenance research underway.

This print comes from a set illustrating the forty-seven loyal samurai who served Asano Naganori (1665-1701), lord of Ako, a domain in Harima Province (modern Hyogo Prefecture). The historic events that attracted public sympathy and inspired puppet and kabuki plays and print series began in 1701, when Asano was provoked to draw his sword in the shogun's castle during a quarrel with Kira Yoshinaka (d. 1703). For this violation of protocol, Asano was ordered to commit suicide, and his retainers became ronin. The forty-seven samurai waited until an appointed date nearly two years later when they planned to meet at Kira's residence and kill him to avenge their master's death; in the end they were ordered to commit suicide themselves.

Here Sugino Juheiji Tsugifusa lifts a split curtain as he waits for his opportunity.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 94, pp. 242-245.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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