Artist: Katsukawa Shuntei (勝川春亭)

Print: Yorimitsu (頼光) and his men (Suetake - 末武, Kintoki - 金時 and Sadamitsu - 定光) killing the monster of Oeyama, Shuten-dōji - these are the middle and right-hand panels of a triptych

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Dates: circa 1809 - 1813,created
Dimensions: 20.5 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions

Signed: Shuntei ga (春亭画)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (complete); Ritsumeikan University - right panel only; Ritsumeikan University - center panel only; Vegder's wonderful article on this theme; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (two right panels);

Physical description:

The time-worn copy of these two panels in the collection of Ritsumeikan University shows a publisher's seal for Hiranoya Chōemon (Marks 112 - seal 02-055) below the artist's name on the right-hand panel. However, this example from the Lyon Collection shows no publisher's seal with only an oddly shaped patch of green where the seal was clearly intended.

One of the great charms of the prints in the Lyon Collection is not only their superb coloring, but also the exotically beautiful oxidation on the original pinks of the monster's robe and on the faces of the men who are attacking him on the left.

The same two panels in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston also gives the publisher as Hiranoya Chōemon. But its right-hand panel is so dramatically trimmed that the artist's signature doesn't even appear there. However, the print to the left (actually the middle panel of the triptych) does show this publisher's seals. Yet again no such seal appears on the comparable print in that of the Lyon Collection.

Yuriko Iwakiri gives the dates ca. 1809-13 for this triptych. Ritsumeikan University dates it at 1818.


Note: Publisher and censor seals (and signatures, etc.) were typically carved into the keyblock at the outset - although it is possible to take a carved block and mortise it for a patch planed level with the surface of the block and carve that patch with a publishers seal, it's a difficult and involved process. Taking a gouge and removing the publisher's seal part of the block would take about 15 seconds - the sort of thing I'd do if I were a publisher selling my blocks to someone else? (mrl)


The whole triptych is illustrated in:

1) Ukiyo-e dai musha-e ten - 浮世絵大武者絵展 - (The Samurai World in Ukiyo-e), edited by Yuriko Iwakiri, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2003, #99, p. 42.

2) Japanese Warrior Prints by Iwakiri and King, 2007, #82, p. 157. (The triptych illustrated here is from the collection of the Nagoya City Museum.)