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Yoshitsuya (1822 - 1866)

Maehara Esuke Munefusa

Series: 47 Loyal Retainers
Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: c. 1850
Size (H x W): 8 x 6 (inches)
Seals: Hama and Kinugasa
Signature: Ichieisai Yoshitsuya ga
Condition: Very good color, impression and state, small worm holes upper right corner


About the artist

A 19th-century ukiyo-e printmaker and illustrator, Yoshitsuya was a pupil of Kuniyoshi Utagawa. Growing up during the late Edo period, Yoshitsuya experienced the sharp decline of the political stability that defined the early Edo period. As the 1840s brought famine and economic despair, the Shogunate introduced the Tenpo Reforms (1841-1842). These edicts banned the depiction of actors and courtesans in ukiyo-e in an effort to remove the "luxury" from printmaking. Unhindered by these restrictions, Yoshitsuya's work focuses mainly on triumphant warriors of Japanese history and legend. Some of his noted series include 54 Battle Stories by Hideyoshi, presenting 54 scenes of Japan's 16th-century unifier, and The Scenic Places of Tokaido, which he completed with a range of top artists and publishers of his time. Today, his works can be found in esteemed collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum.