Su Dongpo, also known as Su Shi, was a member of the Chinese literati during the Song Dynasty (960- 1279). These cultured court officials distinguished themselves with their amateur talent in poetry, painting, and calligraphy. While Su Dongpo excelled in all three fields, in this print Yoshitoshi depicts Su Dongpo’s famous pair of poems “First and Second Odes on the Red Cliffs.” The story of the Red Cliffs was a popular artistic subject among the literati. In 1082, Su Dongpo and his friends set out on the Yangtze River to view the Red Cliffs. Here, centuries before, the ancient warrior Cao Cao faced defeat in a legendary battle. Yoshitoshi depicts Cao Cao just moments before his downfall earlier in this series (p. 10). Su Dongpo’s poems consider the poignant sense of beauty and loss stirred by memories of heroes long dead and the moonlit river. By the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the poet’s visit to the cliffs became a popular subject in its own right. Yoshitoshi evokes this subject’s legacy through his painterly brush strokes in the cliffs and rocks, ample use of negative space, and focus on landscape rather than figures.