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Title

Contemporary tale of the three heroes

1860

Artist

  • Details

    Other Titles
    (Tatooed man)
    Contemporary tale of the three villains
    Alternative title
    Tôsei Sangoku-shi
    Place where the work was made
    Japan
    Period
    Ansei era 1854 - 1860 Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    Date
    1860
    Media category
    Print
    Materials used
    woodblock print; ink and colour on paper
    Dimensions
    35.0 x 24.3 cm
    Signature & date

    Signed c.l., in Japanese, ink [incised on block] "Toyokuni ga [picture by Toyokuni]".
    Not dated.

    Credit
    Bequest of Kenneth Myer 1993
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    598.1993
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Utagawa Utagawa Kunisada/Toyokuni III

    Works in the collection

    50

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  • About

    The man in this image is the kabuki actor Kawarasaki Gonjuro (later known as Ichikawa Danjuro IX) playing Liu Bei, one of the three heroes of the Chinese novel 'Romance of the three kingdoms'. His tattoos show peonies and lions, an old design that originated in China. In legend, lions are attracted to peonies which symbolise wealth and power. The peony was also one of Gonjuro's crests. The bats on the fan, an indicator of summer, represent good luck.
    The print was designed by Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), who was one of the most popular and prolific ukiyo-e artists at the end of the Edo period.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Japan

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

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