Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849

Portraits of Heroes of the Suikoden: One Hundred and Eight Stars
(Suikoden yushi-no-ezukushi: Hyaku hachi seitan shozo)

ehon; blue cover, 1 vol. complete; the cover title Chugi Suikoden Ehon, zen (later edition); and two title pages with slightly different titles, Ehon Suikoden; with artist's signature Katsushika zen Hokusai Iitsu Rojin; dated Bunsei Tsuchinoe Ushi (Bunsei in the zodiac and elemental year of 'elder brother earth-ox'); another title page with archaic seal script, Hyaku-hachi seitan shozo and dated again Bunsei juni (Busei 12, [1829])

ehon 8 3/4 by 6 1/8 in., 22.1 by 15.6 cm

In 1805 and 1806 the publisher Kadomaruya began releasing translations of the Chinese novel Suikoden ('Tales of the River Banks'), translated by Takizawa Bakin. The ambitious project lapsed, and was picked up again in 1829 by the publisher Hanabusaya Heikichi and the translator Takai Ranzan, with Hokusai as the illustrator. In advance of the release of the series (published in six parts with sixty-one volumes and completed in 1838) Hokusai produced this pre-publication of portraits of all of the 108 heroes.

The original title is Hyakuhachi seitan shozo ('Portraits of 108 Stars'), this slightly later edition is entitled Ehon Suikoden ('Illustrated Tales of the River Banks') has the tile slip Chugi Suikoden ehon (Illustrated Book of the Faithfulness of the Suikoden) on the cover.

Jack Hillier, The Art of Hokusai in Book Illustration, 1980, p. 80-82, nos. 60 (sketch), 61 & 62
Jack Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, 1987, vol. II, pp. 886-887, nos. 588 & 589
Matthi Forrer with texts by Edmond de Goncourt, Hokusai, 1988, p. 259, no. 294 (sketch) & no. 295
Gian Carlo Calza, Hokusai, 2003, p. 256, no. V.29




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site last updated
October 21, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
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