“Villain” Gonta carrying his son Zenta on his shoulders

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) - “Villain” Gonta carrying his son Zenta on his shoulders
The print depicts two figures from the well-known drama “Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees” (Yoshitsune senbonzakura) – the “villain” Gonta and his young son Zenta. Gonta first appears to be an immoral gambler and thief, but later shows himself to be acting for the benefit of the aristocrat Taira Kiyomori, to whom he is beholden. To meet his obligations and save Kiyomori’s son and successor, Gonta does not even hesitate to sacrifice his own son. Fatherly love clashes with the duty of loyalty to the feudal lord. The painting is interesting for its yellow background, which was rarely used, especially in Ōsaka. This print was, however, published in Edo. (See Helena Honcoopová, Kunisada, Praha 2005, p. 208)
measurements: height 36 cm
width 24,7 cm
material: paper
technique: Colour woodblock print
inventory number: Vm 2266
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art