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Sun Wukong Plunges Down a Waterfall

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

A Modern Journey to the West: Sun Wukong Plunges Down a Waterfall
(Tsuzoku saiyuki: Sungoku)

signed Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga, published by Fukushimaya Tashichi, with combined censor and date seal Ne-juni, aratame (year of the rat [1864], 12th lunar month, examined)

oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 10 1/8 in., 36.6 by 25.6 cm

In the first chapter of Xiyouji, Sun Wukong is introduced as having been born from a magic stone atop a great mountain where in his youth he made friends with many animals and other monkeys who lived on the mountainside. One day, when he and the other monkeys were bathing in a stream, they grew curious about the water's origin and climbed until they ascended to a great waterfall. Once they reached it, a member of the group suggested that anyone who has the mettle to jump down the waterfall would be made their king. Sun Wukong volunteered, and in doing so set himself on a path to greatness, as foretold in Jenner's translation:

Today he will make his name:
Tomorrow his destiny shall triumph.
He is fated to live here;
As a king he will enter the Immortals' palace.

Keyes 1983, p. 355, no. 116.4
van den Ing & Schaap 1992, p. 11, fig. 3
Akita Museum of Modern Art 1999, p. 26, no. 70
Fair (ed.) 2005, pp. 5-8
Newland & Uhlenbeck 2011, p. 70, no. 24
Schaap 2011, p. 158, no. 14 (illus.)
Iwakiri 2014, p. 20, no. 19
MFA, Boston, accession no. 11.37740