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Raikō (Yorimitsu) Enters the Treasure Mountain from the series Sketches by Yoshitoshi

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Raikō (Yorimitsu) Enters the Treasure Mountain

from the series Sketches by Yoshitoshi

by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1882

Ikina from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

IHL Cat. #1522

About This Print

In this print Minamoto no Yorimitsu, also known as Minamoto no Raikō, in full armor prepares to lop off the head of the drunken ogre (oni) Shutendōji 酒呑童子 (literally, "drunken child"). Shutendōji, who can change form, here seen in the guise of a giant child, has fallen asleep on an armrest held up by coral legs. An overturned sake bowl (sakazuki) and a ladle lie in front attest to his being drunk and various treasures (takaramono) are scattered about.  

This print is one of forty prints (chūban size) which make up the series Sketches by Yoshitoshi (Yoshitoshi ryakuga). The series consists of forty humorous subjects originally printed in pairs on an ōban sheet as shown below. 

The Legend of Raikō and Shutendōji

Minamoto no Yorimitsu (948-1021), who served the regents of the Fujiwara clan, was known as a peerless warrior.  Over the years a number of legends grew up around him, one of the most famous being his killing of the chief of the oni, Shutendōji, infamous for kidnapping, enslaving and cannibalizing men and women. As legend has it, Emperor Ichigō (986-1011) commands Yorimitsu to free Shutendōji's captives and kill him.  Travelling to Shutendōji's fortress on Mt. Ōe with his troupe disguised as mountain priests (yamabushi), Yorimitsu is given a special sake that paralyzes demons. Shutendōji, fooled by their disguise, invites them to a banquet where they give him the magic sake, wait for it to take effect, change into their armor and, after a fierce fight, cut off his very large head.

The Uncut Oban-size Sheet

頼光宝之山/子英乗鯉飛行図
Raikō (Yorimitsu) Enters the Treasure MountainShiei Riding the Carp over the Sea

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1522
 Title Raikō (Yorimitsu) Enters the Treasure Mountain (also seen translated as "Yorimitsu Ascends the Mountain of Treasures")
 頼光宝之山入 Yorimitsu takara no yama ni iru
 Series Sketches by Yoshitoshi (also seen translated as "Abbreviated Sketches by Yoshitoshi" and "Quick Drawings by Yoshitoshi")
 芳年略画 Yoshitoshi Ryakuga 
[The series title sometimes appears, as seen left, stamped on the top print of the print pair.  When it does appear, the series title is not part of the block and it is unknown if it was added by the publisher.]
 Artist 
 Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
 Signature 
芳年戯画 with 芳年 seal
Yoshitoshi giga with Yoshitoshi seal
 Seal 芳年 Yoshitoshi as shown above
 Date May 1882
 Publisher Funazu Chūjirō [Marks. pub. ref. 260]
 Carver 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - vertical center; minor soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous Keyes 446-31
 Format horizontal chūban (originally issued as a pair on an ōban sheet as shown above)
 H x W Paper 7 x 9 3/8 in. (17.8 x 23.8 cm)
 H x W Image
 same as paper size
 Collections This Print National Diet Library info:ndljp/pid/1312932; Los Angeles County Museum of Art M.84.31.340; National Library of Australia Call Number ASPIC OJRB Pic 444 ; MAK Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art BI 17444-7-5; British Museum 1990,0614,0.
 Reference Literature
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