Legendary Heroes

Legendary Heroes View Works

Capturing tales of vengeance and valor, Yoshitsuya and Yoshiiku render the full vitality of the samurai spirit. From fierce ronin to the legendary heroes of the Taiheiki, these dynamic warrior art prints tell stories of loyalty and bravery. During the 19th century, tales of heroes and warriors captured the hearts of ukiyo-e artists. As government reforms tightened around popular subjects such as actors and courtesans, images of mythical heroes and storied samurai flourished. The Yoshitsuya woodblock prints in this exhibition belong to the series The 47 Loyal Retainers. Also known as Chushingura, this tale of loyalty and honor is one of the most popular subjects in Japanese art, literature and drama. Based on historical events, the narrative of the loyal warriors seeking revenge for the death of their lord speaks to themes of heroism and courage. The Yoshiiku woodblock prints in this exhibition present heroes from the Taiheiki (Chronicle of Great Peace). Written towards the close of the 14th century, this historical epic chronicles the Nanboku-cho, the period of war between the Southern court and Northern court in Japan.

Artists for this exhibition

Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)
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Yoshitsuya (1822-1866)
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Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
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