Scene from the first act of the drama Kanadehon Chūshingura

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III) - Scene from the first act of the drama Kanadehon Chūshingura
The print bears the seal of the publishing house Eikyūdō, the title Records of the Loyal Vassals (Chūyū gishi roku) and the numeral one (dai ichi). The scene depicts the first act of the famous drama Kanadehon Chūshingura in which Captain Enya and Momonoi Wakanosuke arrive to be received by the master of ceremonies Kō no Moronao. The story of the one-day-long drama Kanadehon Chūshingura with eleven acts is based on actual events of 1701–1703 and had a profound moral impact in the Tokugawa period. As contemporary political themes were not allowed to be elaborated in theatre or literature, the play’s plot was shifted to the high Middle Ages and the names of the protagonists were changed. The master of ceremonies Moronao provokes the protagonist Captain Enya (Enya Hangan) to draw his sword inside the Emperor’s residence and Enya is therefore condemned to commit ritual suicide. All 47 samurai, who were dependant on the prosperity of Enya’s domain, become poor rōnins. In the end, they avenge their master’s death and are also condemned to ritual suicide. (See Helena Honcoopová, Kunisada, Praha 2005, p. 144)
measurements: height 24,5 cm
width 35,5 cm
material: paper
technique: Colour woodblock print
inventory number: Vm 5893
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art