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Yoshitoshi
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
Individual Pictorial Biographis of the Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai
(Seichu gishi meimei gaden)

complete set of 50 (49 portraits plus preface) prints in accordion-style album, with printed label (probably from the original fukuro wrapper) titled Seichu gishi meimei gaden, signed Tsukioka Yoshitoshi ga with publisher's firm name Tokokudo shi and red seal Tokokudo; the preface dated Meiji ni Tsuchinoto-mi kishun (Meiji 2, [1869], late spring) and signed Kanagaki Robun kindai (respectfully titled by Kanagaki Robun) with red seal Bun; each sheet (except no. 50) signed Yoshitoshi hitsu or Yoshitoshi ga, most with artist's seal Kiri, and with combined censor and date seal Mi-ni, aratame (year of the snake [1869], 2nd lunar month, examined), and publisher's futatsudomoe seal Marujin (Maruya Jinpachi of Tokokudo) in black, red or yellow; each print numbered 2-50; no. 50 signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsukore with artist's seal Kiri, combined censor seal Mi-ni, aratame (year of the snake [1869], 2nd lunar month, examined), and publisher's seal Shiba Shinmeimae, Maruya Jinpachi han (Maruya Jinpachi of Tokokudo)
chuban tate-e album 10 7/8 by 7 5/8 by 1 1/8 in., 27.6 by 19.4 by 2.7 cm
Stylistically, Yoshitoshi's 1869 series Individual Pictorial Biographies of the Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai (Seichu gishi meimei gaden) is quite similar to the series Stories of the Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai (Seichu gishi den) composed by his teacher, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), between 1847 and 1848. Both identify the subjects by their historical, rather than kabuki, names, and place the warriors in dramatic poses with short biographies against plain backgrounds. That Yoshitoshi had just designed an oban format Forty-Seven Ronin series the previous year should not come as a surprise as Yoshitoshi was following in the footsteps of his teacher who was a master and in many ways an innovator of musha-e (warrior prints). Early in his career, Yoshitoshi produced a number of warrior series, and the loyal retainers (and their kabuki counterpart, Kanadehon Chushingura) were a very popular and marketable theme.
The portraits are numbered 2-50:

 Preface by Kanagaki Robun (1829-1894)
2. Kira Kazusanosuke Minamoto no Yoshihide (see photo)
3. Asano Takumi no Kami Minamoto no Naganori (see photo)
4. Yoshida Chuzaemon Fujiwara no Kanesuke
5. Oishi Chikara Fujiwara no Yoshikane
6. Chikamatsu Kanroku Minamoto no Yukishige
7. Mase Kyudayu Ki no Masaakira
8. Onodera Junai Fujiwara no Hidekazu
9. Hayamizu Tozaemon Fujiwara no Mitsutaka
10. Chiba Saburobyoe Taira no Mitsutada
11. Kanzaki Yogoro Minamoto no Noriyasu
12. Kan'ya Hannojo Sugawara no Masatoshi
13. Hazama Shinroku Fujiwara no Mitsukaze
14. Mase Magokuro Minamoto no Masatoki
15. Muramatsu Kihei Hidenao Nyudo Ryuen
16. Kimura Okaemon Minamoto no Sadayuki
17. Fuwa Kazuemon Taira no Shigetane
18. Otaka Gengo Minamoto no Tadao
19. Muramatsu Sandayu Fujiwara no Takanao
20. Kurahashi Densuke Kiyowara Takeyuki
21. Maebara Isuke Urabe no Munefusa
22. Kaiga Yazaemon Fujiwara no Tomonobu
23. Sugino Juheiji Fujiwara no Harufusa
24. Kayano Wasuke Fujiwara no Tsunenari (see photo)
25. Onodera Koemon Hidetome (see photo)
26. Okada Sadaemon Fujiwara no Yukitaka
27. Yato Emoshichi Taira no Norikane
28. Terasaka Kiemon Fujiwara no Nobuyuki
29. Mimura Jiroemon Fujiwara no Kanetsune
30. Yokokawa Kanpei Fujiwara no Munenori
31. Okajima Yasoemon Fujiwara no Tsuneki
32. Hazama Jujiro Fujiwara no Mitsuoki (see photo)
33. Yata Goroemon Fujiwara no Takanori (see photo)
34. Shiota Matanojo Minamoto no Takanori
35. Nakamura Kansuke Fujiwara no Masatoki
36. Yoshida Sawaemon Fujiwara no Kanesada (see photo)
37. Katsuta Shin'emon Minamoto no Taketaka (see photo)
38. Takebayashi Sadashichi Mo no Takashige
39. Isogai Juroemon Fujiwara no Masahisa
40. Tomimori Sukeemon Taira no Masayori (see photo)
41. Okuda Magodayu Fujiwara no Shigemori (see photo)
42. Oishi Sezaemon Fujiwara no Nobukiyo
43. Okano Kin'emon Fujiwara no Kanehide
44. Horibe Yasubei Taketsune
45. Akagaki Genzo Fujiwara no Masakata
46. Hazama Kihei Fujiwara no Mitsunobu
47. Kataoka Gengoemon Minamoto no Takafusa
48. Horibe Yahei Minamoto no Kanemaru
49. Hara Soemon Taira no Mototoki
50. Oishi Kuranosuke Fujiwara no Yoshio
Published:
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 35
References:
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, pp. 388-391, no. 255
David R. Weinberg, Kuniyoshi: The Faithful Samurai, 2000
James King & Yuriko Iwakiri, Japanese Warrior Prints 1646-1905, 2007, pp. 20-23
Andreas Marks, Japanese Woodblock Prints: Artists, Publishers, and Masterworks, 2010, pp. 198-199 (illus. no. 30: Yokokawa Kanpei)
Robert Schaap, Appendix II in Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Fries Collection, 2011, no. 160
Andreas Marks, Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Compendium, 2011, pp. 218-221, no. 294
MFA, Boston, accession nos. 11.21187-11.21211
price: $ 8,500 (reserved)