Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) A Comparison of the Ogura One Hundred Poets, Number 13: Yozei-In, 1847. Oban.
The best known and finest of the Ogura Poets series. This striking image is of the Japanese hero Benkei as a young man, wrestling a giant carp. Legend has it that Benkei was born with a full head of hair and a mouthful of teeth. He had extraordinary strength and was sent to be raised as a priest. One day he happened upon a giant carp at a waterfall and wrestled with it; on slitting it open he discovered the remains of his mother. There is a pun intended between the subject of the poem, longing, and carp; kohi being the Japanese for both words. The poem's sentiment of meeting is echoed by the discovery of his mother's remains. The poem reads: “Like the Mina river / that falls from the peak / of Mount Tsukuba, / so my longing has collected / and turned into deep pools.”
This is a superb printing of the first edition of the print. The drawing and printed rendering of the carp are peerless. The impression and colour are very fine and there is no damage. The margins are trimmed.
The print is illustrated in Herwig & Mostow, The One Hundred Poets Compared, Hotei Publishing 2007.
34 x 22 cm.