Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kisokaido Road: Niekawa, Takenouchi no Sukune and His Younger Brother Umashiuchi no Sukune
(Kisokaido rokujukyu tsugi no uchi: Niekawa, Takenouchi no Sukune, Umashiuchi no Sukune)
signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga with artist's seal Kiri, publisher's seal Kagayasu (Kagaya Yasubei), censor's seals Fuku and Muramatsu, and date seal Ne-roku (year of the rat , 6th month)
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 9 5/8 in., 36.3 by 24.3 cm
Takenouchi no Sukune is a pseudo-historical figure recounted by the eighth century Nihonshoki (The Chronicle of Japan), in which he was said to live for several centuries and serve at least four emperors. One such ruler was the Empress Jingu, who served as regent for her son, the future emperor Ojin. The episode depicted in this composition is said to have occurred during Ojin's reign in the third century. Takenouchi was accused of disloyalty to the throne by his envious younger brother Umashiuchi. To determine which brother was telling the truth, the Emperor demanded a trial by ordeal, in which both were required to thrust their arms into boiling water. The old, determined Takenouchi is showed with little ill effect, while the younger, and presumably deceitful, Umashiuchi is thrust back from the boiling cauldron. The station, Niekawa, means "whitewater river" but could also refer to boiling or burning skin.
Sarah E. Thompson, The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaido, 2009, p. 84, cat. 34
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession nos. 11.28999, 11.29009.35, 11.37092, and 11.38972.35
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