Eisen Kesai "Act 1: Preface, Tsurugaoka, Kabuto Aratame"
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The Kanadehon Chushingura is a popular 11-act kabuki play based on the true story of "The 47 Ronin." The story centers on the humiliation and death of Enya Hangan Takasada following a fateful encounter with Kono Musashi no Kami Moronao. The arc of the play focuses on Takasada's loyal retainers, now masterless ronin, as they plan and plot for over a year to avenge his death. In the climax, Moronao is killed and the remaining ronin are compelled to commit seppeku, ritual suicide, as a price for their successful revenge plot.
Here we present one of Eisen Keisai's designs from his "Kanadehon Chushingura" series, produced in circa 1835 as an eleven-part woodblock print collection. The black borders emblazoned with crests frames all of the prints in the series, which are carefully designed to emphasize key parts of each act and the story. Rarely available for sale as part of the entire set of eleven designs.
In this design of Act II, The Lord Wakasanosuke vows to kill Moronao on behalf of Enya. Wakasanosuke's retainer, Honzo, convinces him not to, and is shown slicing off a branch of a pine tree with his master's sword to remind his Lord to not kill Moronao.
Series: Kanadehon Chushingura (Treasury of Loyal Retainers)
Date: c. 1835
Format: Oban (approx. 9" x 14")
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei
Condition: Small loss in top corners, light paper soiling, otherwise very good color and condition. Untrimmed.
Frame Shown: 16" x 24â" x 1/2", Classic Wood, Walnut
Eisen Kesai (1790 - 1848) was a prolific artist whose is well-known today for his bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) works and his landscapes. Eisen inspired many artists in his lifetime and after his death, including the great Western painter Vincent van Gogh.