Virtuous women for the eight views

Utagawa Kuniyoshi
1797 - 1861
Virtuous women for the eight views
Kenho Hakkei

Kuniyoshi follows in this series of prints the Chinese standard landscape set of the eight views. Born in eleventh century China these eight views developed as a formalized series of landscape paintings.  They represented views of the rivers and wetlands around Lake Dongting.  The same eight views – autumn moon, lingering snow, evening glow, vesper bells, returning boats, clearing weather, night rain and homing geese – are likened to virtuous women from Japanese history and legend.          

Woodblock prints, nishiki-e
Series: Kenjo Hakkei
Virtuous women for the eight views
Date: c. 1843-45
Size: chū-tanzaku, each c. 367 x 124 mm
Signed: Chō-ō-rō Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Iba-ya Sensaburô
Censors: Tanaka or Muramatsu

The narrow vertical cartouche in the upper right contains the series title and subtitle of each prints.

The complete series of 8 prints

1. Autumn moon on Saga Moor
    Kogô no Tsubon under a moon on the veranda of her home after being driven from the court (Robinson S21.1)
2. Lingering snow on Mount Yoshino
    Shizuka-gozen trudging through the snow after her last farewell to Yoshitsune (Robinson S21.2)
3. Evening glow at Yashima
    Tamamushi-no-mae watching Nasu no Yoichi’s arrow carry away the fan from the pole on her boat at the Battle of Yashima (Robinson S21.3)
4. Vesper bells at Ueno
    The poetess Shûshiki looking at the poem she attached to a cherry tree at Ueno (Robinson S21.4)
5. Returning boats at Tsukushi
    Empress Jingô armed and wearing voluminous robes watching the return of her victorious fleet from Korea (Robinson S21.5)
6. Clearing weather at Mama
    The faithful wife of Mama walking by a hillside in autumn (Robinson S21.6)
7. Night rain at the hunting ground
    Tegoshi no Shôshô waiting in the rain to guide the Soga brothers to their revenge (Robinson S21.7)
8. Homing geese at Kanazawa
    The poetess Chiyo turning to watch wild geese while sweeping up autumn leaves (Robinson S21.8)

Fine, even impressions, colour well preserved, in very good condition.
It is difficult to find such a homogeneous series, therefore extremely rare.


B. W. Robinson, Kuniyoshi: The Warrior Prints, Oxford, 1982, S21.1-8

R. Schaap, Heroes & Ghosts, Japanese prints by Kuniyoshi 1797-1861, 1998