Ginko, A Mirror of Famous Women in Old and Modern Times - Tokiwa Gozen

Ginko Adachi (active 1874 - 1897) A Mirror of Famous Women in Old and Modern Times: Tokiwa Gozen, 1887. Oban.

This is a lovely print by Ginko of one of the most famous scenes from Japanese history: Tokiwa Gozen and her children, one of whom is the great Samurai and hero Minamoto no Yoshitsune setting out in the snow. The setting is the twelfth century and we see Lady Tokiwa fleeing through a snowstorm during the Heiji Rebellion, protecting her children beneath her robes. This scene is often depicted in ukiyo-e and this print mirrors one of the same subject by Kuniyoshi half a century earlier. Tokiwa Gozen may have been the wife or mistress of Minamoto no Yoshitomo to whom she bore three sons. She was captured and agreed to become the mistress of Taira no Kiyomori in exchange for the safety of her children.

The series, A Mirror of Famous Women in Old and Modern Times is Ginko’s most well known. Like Kunichika’s 36 Good and Evil Beauties from 1876, it celebrates powerful and famous women through the ages, a very different perspective from earlier depictions of women as decorative fashion plates. This undoubtedly Ginko’s finest series and this print in particular is beautifully executed, nodding to Yoshitoshi in its excellent quality of line and sparse use of strong primary colour.

Fine colour and early impression with strong wood grain visible in the grey sky. There is some surface wear and damage but over all very good.

35cm x 24cm.