Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892) Tales of the Floating World in Eastern Brocade: Iwami Jutaro Hosuke, 1867. Oban.
An early Yoshitoshi print portraying the warrior Iwami Jutaro, dramatically breaking out of prison, disturbing a sleeping guard who recoils in astonishment. The series dates from early in Yoshitoshi’s career when he was only twenty-eight. The series illustrates popular stories of history and violence collected by a contemporary writer, Kanagaki Robun. The book was a satire on the convulsions of the modernisation of Japan following the restoration - a concern shared by Yoshitoshi. The story is written in the cartouche of a folded book which acknowledges Robun as the author.
The style of drawing and design is distinctly reminiscent of Yoshitoshi’s teacher Kuniyoshi. There are precedents in Kuniyoshi’s work for the sundered gate and the distinctive features of both characters - he was alone in Kuniyoshi’s studio in being allowed to use the red Kiri seal of his teacher which appears on the left side of the print. Yoshitoshi has not yet established his very individual ‘modern’ style evident in later prints.
Iwami Jutaro was a legendary hero and warrior serving under the leadership of Hideyoshi. He was a noted swordsman and strong man, which Yoshitoshi emphasises with the splintering of the enormous timber gate.
A very good early Yoshitoshi, impression and colour are fine, full size with thin margins.
Signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi Hitsu. Published by Sanoya Tomigoro.
36cm x 23cm.