Yoshitaki, Twelve Months - June - Kawachi Kakutei in the Lookout Pine

Utagawa Yoshitaki (ca 1841 - 1899) Twelve Months: June -  Kawachi Kakutei in the Lookout Pine,  ca. 1860’s. Deluxe Chuban.

This series by Yoshitaki is based around the calendar months. This print shows the bandit Kawachi Kakutei on the look-out in a pine tree. His boss Kumasaka Chohan was a notorious bandit leader of the twelfth century whose life has been retold many times in folk stories in Japan. He attacked travelers in the province of Mino, using a twenty meter pine tree to see his victims coming. One day, the gang attacked the young boy Ushiwakamura; he defeated the bandits and famously went on to beat the warrior monk Benkei on Gojo Bridge. Thereafter he became the legendary General Minamoto no Yoshitsune. It is said that he killed thirteen attackers and left Chohan seriously wounded.

This minor incident in the life of Yoshitsune was nevertheless very popular and became the subject of kabuki dramas. The model for this print is almost certainly Kuniyoshi’s treatment of the subject from his series The Secrets of Strategy from 1848, although he made several versions of the subject.

This is a fine, deluxe print with mica and metallic pigments to the robes and very powerful woodgrain in the sky.

18cm x 25cm.