Chikanobu - Yoshitsune Crossing a River from The Rivals

Toyohara Chikanobu (1838 - 1912)  Yoshitsune Crossing a River by Means of a Bamboo, from The Rivals: A Tale of the Rise and Fall of the Minamoto and Taira, 1885. Oban.

This very fine series betrays Chikanobu’s loyalties to the old shogunate on whose side he briefly fought in 1868. This was an illustrated history of the great heroes and battles of the twelfth century Gempei Wars between the rival Minamoto and Taira clans. Chikanobu has spared no expense in the rendering of this series; from the highly decorative printed border of the first edition to the shimmering and sparkling mica and overlayed printing of delicate bokashi shading, this was a very expensive and deluxe series to produce.

This is print number 14 from this series and depicts the great Japanese hero Yoshitsune crossing a torrent by skillfully using a bamboo tree.This was a popular theme for ukiyo-e artists and here Chikanobu acknowledges a debt to his old teacher and mentor Kuniyoshi. This deluxe edition differs from the later edition with the plain grey border.

This is a very fine print in pristine condition. It has every sophistication of printing technique: the patterned border, liberal use of mica to enliven the water and extensive bokashi shading.

Very fine condition, perfect colour and early, very fine edition.  Published by Tsunashima Kamekichi.

36cm x 24cm.