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Creator Name: Katsukawa, Shunsho
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: Japanese; 1726-1792 Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Active Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Katsukawa Shunsho
Title: The warrior Omori Hikoshichi carrying a female demon on his back
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1767
Creation End Date: 1777
Creation Date: c. 1772
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Chu?ban; 26.3 x 19.2 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Katsukawa Shunsho ga
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1939.593
Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, Frederick W. Gookin Collection
Context: Like many of Shunsho's warrior prints, this one takes its subject from a dramatic incident in one of the historical chronicles: the tale of the warrior Omori Hikoshichi and the female demon is included in book 23 of the fourteenth-century war tale Taiheiki (Chronicle of the Great Pacification).At the battle of Minatogawa in 1336 Omori Hikoshichi, a vassal of the warlord (later shogun) Ashikaga Takauji, defeated the general of the imperial forces, Kusunoki Masashige (1294-1336), who thereupon committed suicide. In reward, Hikoshichi was granted lordship over the province of Iyo. On his way to a celebratory performance of sarugaku (a precursor of No drama and Kyogen) in Iyo, Hikoshichi met a beautiful woman on the road at night who said she was travelling to the same place. Hikoshichi's gallant offer to carry her on his back was gratefully accepted, but as they approached the mountains the woman suddenly turned into a fearful demon - the vengeful spirit of his defeated enemy Kusunoki Masashige - which tried to carry him off into the sky. Though he was able to resist the spirit of Masashige on this occasion, Hikoshichi continued to be haunted by the demon until Buddhist monks read the Daihannya Sutra in pacification.Appropriately, Shunsho's demon resembles the hannya mask - sharp horns, burning eyes, and toothy grimace - which would have been worn by an actor portraying this female devil in the No version of the tale. The rough, burly warrior is also brought vividly to life, showing that the 'new realism' of Shunsho's art was not confined to actor portraiture.The purple and blue pigments used in the print have faded considerably, giving it a deceptively autumnal color scheme, and the bright orange lead pigment of the demon's skin has become tarnished with oxidation.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1939.593
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
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