Kunisada: Fight with a dragon
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Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) (1786-1865)
Minamoto no Tsunemoto (894-961, here called Rokuson'ô) fighting a giant dragon with his sword.
Title: 六孫王経基 – Rokuson’ô Tsunemoto
Series: Honchô kômei (kômyô) kagami (A Mirror of Great People of our Country)
Signature: Kôchôrô Kunisada ga
Engraver: Horikô Matsushima Fusajirô
Publisher: Jôshûya Kinzô (Jôkin), Edo
Date: c. 1835
Size: Vertical Ôban, 37,8 x 26 cm (overall)
Excellent impression, very good colours. Full sheet, unbacked. Partly a little creased and rubbed, mainly in margins and corners, occasionally a little bit thinner, with smaller paper damages and soiling. Vertical crease at upper left, vertical fold line along right margin, paper partly a little bit thinner there. Verso some red transfer stains (hardly visible from the front) and brown spots. Overall still very good condition, especially considering the great rarity of the print.
Very rare print with a dramatic fight scene with a dragon. This scene is otherwise not documented for Minamoto no Tsunemoto. The theme of a fight with a dragon in itself is unusual, since dragons, with few exceptions (e.g. Yamata no Orochi), generally have positive connotations.
Illustrated in: James King / Yuriko Iwakiri, Japanese Warrior Prints 1646-1905, Leiden/Boston 2007, p. 253, no. 139. Another copy is in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art, no. 11642.82. Horst Graebner, Kunisada.de shows two slightly different colour variants, here the one with light blue trousers.