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Yoshitoshi
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892
A Modern Journey to the West: Sun Wukong and The Golden Horned King
(Tsuzoku saiyuki: Sungoku, Kinkaku Daio)

signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga, the descriptive text attributed to the writer Sumida Ryoko on the rolled end of the emakimono-shaped cartouche, with publisher's seal Fukuta shi, Akasaka (Fukushimaya Tashichi of Senkindo), and combined censor and date seal Ushi-ni, aratame (year of the ox [1865], 2nd lunar month, examined)
oban tate-e 13 7/8 by 9 5/8 in., 35.2 by 24.6 cm
The series A Modern Journey to the West depicts the tales of Sun Wukong (Jp: Songoku), the legendary monkey king of the 16th-century novel Journey to the West (Xiyouji), believed to be written by Wu Cheng'en (1500-1582). The epic tale is based on the life of the monk Xuanzang (602-664; Jp: Genjo), who traveled from China to India (known as the Western Kingdoms in Tang Dynasty China) to retrieve sacred Buddhist scriptures, but is best remembered as the tales of Sun Wukong, Xuanzang's mischievous companion. The texts in the cartouches are attributed to the author Sumida Ryoko (also known as Hosojima Seizo).
In chapter 35 of Xiyouji, Sun Wukong, the Tang monk Xuanzang, and a host of his disciples traverse the Flat-top Mountain. They were wary of the mountain's Lotus Flower Cave, wherein resides the Golden Horned King (Jp. Kinkaku Daio), and his demon hoards who eat monks. After getting defeated by demons, the Pig-spirit disciple Cho Hakkai, the disciple Friar Sand, and Xuanzang himself were captured by the Golden Horned King and held prisoner in the Lotus Flower Cave. Sun Wukong, who was pinned beneath the mountain by demonic magic, was freed from his imprisonment by local deities of the mountain and manages to trick mountain demons into leading him to the Lotus Flower Cave to free his companions. Through improvisation (and further deception), Sun Wukong made his way to the Lotus Flower Cave, routed the demons outside the entrance, stormed inside and freed his master. However, the Golden Horned King was not defeated. Distraught at the demise of his demonic followers, he swore vengeance on the mischievous monkey, his ominous vow translated by Jenner:
The angry demon king,
Beside himself with fury,
Angry enough to swallow Monkey whole.
Unable to let off his rage,
Viciously he cursed the ape:
"There will be no mercy in this fight:
We'll see who is to survive."
Published:
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking: Part Five - Yoshitoshi, Scholten Japanese Art, New York, 2017, cat. no. 8

References:
Roger Keyes, Courage and Silence, 1983, p. 355, no. 116.5
Akita Museum of Modern Art, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi: The Last Ukiyo-e Artist of Genius, 1999, p. 26, no. 73
John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 2001, p. 15. no. 2
Collinson Fair, ed., WJF Jenner, trans., Journey to the West, 2005, pp. 450-498 (chapters 32-35)
Yuriko Iwakiri, Yoshitoshi, 2014, p. 21, no. 22
MFA, Boston, accession no. 11.39779
price: $ 2,200