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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Kuniyoshi’s Heroes of China and Japan

A catalogue of the Ashmolean’s collection of warriors by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) by Oliver Impey and Mitsuko Watanabe (published Oxford, 2003).

Kuniyoshi’s Heroes of China and Japan by Oliver Impey and Mitsuko Watanabe

Publications online: 20 objects

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Hekirekika Shinmei (Qin Ming)

  • Literature notes

    Suikoden chapter 34

    Qin Ming was a commander of all the imperial forces around the town of Qingzhou known, on account of his temper and of his loud voice as the ‘Thunderbolt’. His favourite weapon was a ‘wolf-toothed’ mace (ryōgabō). By an involved series of ruses and appalling treachery, he was induced to join the rebels. In this print he stands holding the ‘wolf-toothed’ mace, beside the castle wall, being mistaken for a brigand.


    This is not a preparatory sketch for a print, that sent to the blockmaker, a shita-e, for these were extremely sketchy, and the block-cutter had a very considerable input to the final design, controlling all the details. This is a worked-up drawing; possibly by Kuniyoshi with assistants, perhaps as a demonstration for a publisher or possible patron. Nine similar paintings of other heroes are known, all in the National Museum for Ethnology, Leiden.
  • Details

    Series
    One of the 108 Heroes of the Popular Water Margin
    Associated place
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of creation)
    Date
    1827 - 1830
    Artist/maker
    attributed to Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797 - 1861) (artist)
    Material and technique
    Nishiki-e, woodblock print, ink and colour on paper
    Dimensions
    mount 55.3 x 40.2 cm (height x width)
    painting 37.5 x 26.1 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    1
    Credit line
    Presented by George Grigs, Miss Elizabeth Grigs, and Miss Susan Messer, in memory of Derick Grigs, 1971.
    Accession no.
    EA1971.45
  • Further reading

    Impey, Oliver, and Mitsuko Watanabe, Kuniyoshi's Heroes of China and Japan: A Selection of Warriors from Two Series of Prints and a Painting by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798 - 1861), the Suikoden of 1827 and the Taiheki of 1848-9 (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2003), no. 1 on p. 9, p. 6, illus. p. 13 pl. 1

    Katz, Janice, Japanese Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, with an introductory essay by Oliver Impey (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2003), cat. supp. no. 79 on p. 227, p. 15, illus. p. 227 fig. 79

Location

    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.

 

Publications online

  • Kuniyoshi’s Heroes of China and Japan by Oliver Impey and Mitsuko Watanabe

    Kuniyoshi’s Heroes of China and Japan

    Suikoden chapter 34

    Qin Ming was a commander of all the imperial forces around the town of Qingzhou known, on account of his temper and of his loud voice as the ‘Thunderbolt’. His favourite weapon was a ‘wolf-toothed’ mace (ryōgabō). By an involved series of ruses and appalling treachery, he was induced to join the rebels. In this print he stands holding the ‘wolf-toothed’ mace, beside the castle wall, being mistaken for a brigand.


    This is not a preparatory sketch for a print, that sent to the blockmaker, a shita-e, for these were extremely sketchy, and the block-cutter had a very considerable input to the final design, controlling all the details. This is a worked-up drawing; possibly by Kuniyoshi with assistants, perhaps as a demonstration for a publisher or possible patron. Nine similar paintings of other heroes are known, all in the National Museum for Ethnology, Leiden.
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