Essays by Yoshitoshi: Yodo no Kimi
(Ikkai zuihitsu: Yodo no Kimi)
signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu, with carver's seal Katada Hori Cho, published by Masadaya Heikichi of Seiedo, and cyclical date seal Tori-shi (year of the cock , 4th lunar month)
oban tate-e 1/8 by 9 5/8 in., 35.9 by 24.5 cm
Yodo-no-kimi (also known as Yodogimi; 1569-1615) was the concubine and second wife of daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) and a leading role in many kabuki plays. Following Hideyoshi's death, Yodogimi and her son Toyotomi Hideyori were perceived to pose a threat to the consolidation of power under Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616). After an uneasy truce between Yodogimi and Ieyasu held for a short time, mother and son were soon attacked at Osaka Castle and the pair committed suicide rather than become Ieyasu's prisoners. In kabuki Yodogimi is fierce, nearly deranged with her sense of entitlement due to her perceived position as Hideyoshi's concubine and the mother of his son. In Yoshitoshi's scene the proverbial winds of fate seem to whip around the seated Yodogimi suggesting a supernatural element to the moment. Holding a still-sheathed dagger (tanto), she turns her head to look over her shoulder-perhaps hearing the approach of Ieyasu's forces. Her halberd rests against a standing curtain for the fight is already surely lost, and she wears a white robe in preparation for her final act of seppuku.
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 47
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 396, no. 280.10
Shinichi Segi, Yoshitoshi the Splendid Decadent, 1985, p. 45, no. 18
Eric van den Ing & Robert Schaap, Beauty and Violence, 1992, p. 111, no. 23.10
Akita Museum of Modern Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: The Last Ukiyo-e Artist of Genius, 1999, p. 26, no. 76
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's 100 Aspects of the Moon, 2001. p. 23, no. 19
Yuriko Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi, 2014, p. 61, no. 83
MFA, Boston, accession no. 11.37612
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site last updated
September 19, 2018
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