Eisen Kesai "Act 5: Yamazaki Road"
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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.
To fund the revenge plot, Kanpei's lover Okaru sells herself to a geisha house in Kyoto. In this design of Act V, we see Okaru's father being robbed of the proceeds from the sale. Meanwhile, Kanpei is out hunting and later kills the robber by accident and finds the money. He decides to contribute the money to fund the revenge plot as atonement.
Series: Kanadehon Chushingura (Treasury of Loyal Retainers)
Date: c. 1835
Format: Oban (approx. 9" x 14")
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei
Condition: Light paper soiling, otherwise very good color and condition. Untrimmed.
Frame Shown: 16" x 24" 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.