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Wang Lan Harmony Between Siblings from the illustrated textbook Nishikie Shūshindan, Volume 2

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

Japanese Color Woodblock Prints 

Wang Lan Harmony Between Siblings

from the illustrated textbook

Nishikie Shūshindan, Volume 2, 1882

by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Ikina from the series Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition

IHL Cat. #924

About This Print

In this print, originally created for volume two of the six volume elementary school morals textbook Nishikie Shūshindan ("Brocade Pictures for Moral Education")Yoshitoshi depicts a young Wang Lan (206-278) protecting his older half-brother Wang Xiang (185-269) from the wrath of his mother, who favored her own son.  Both brothers were to grow up and become important statesmen during the Chinese Three Kingdoms period (220-280).

For more information about shūshindan (moral education) and the prints included in, or associated with, the illustrated textbooks Nishikie Shūshindan, see the article Brocade Pictures for Moral Education on this site.

A Lesson in Sibling Harmony
Source: The Confucian Four Books for Women (Nü sishu),Xiang Wang and Ann A Pang White, Oxford University Press, 2018. p.267.

The story of Wang Xiang and Wang Lan is told as follows:

Wang Xiang 王祥 of the Jin dynasty [during the period of the Three Kingdoms], had a stepmother Madame Zhu 朱氏. During the winter months, his stepmother missed the taste of fish. Xiang would lie down on the frozen river to thaw the water in order to catch carp for her. But his stepmother often abused him, contrary to ritual propriety. Her biological son Wang Lan 王覽 always voluntarily shared labor with his stepbrother. Madame Xhu then began to abuse Xiang's wife. Lan's wife also chose to labor together with sisten-in-law Si. Their mother finally realized her errors and loved all of them.

Explanatory Cartouche and Transcription
click on image to enlarge
王覽の悌 月岡芳年 1882年頃


The Illustrations and Prints in the Textbooks

Yoshitoshi designed twelve aiban-size color prints along with all thirty-three black and white illustrations for the six volumes of Brocade Prints for Moral Obligations, issued between March 1882 and July 1884. Between one and three of Yositoshi's color prints were inserted, each print being folded in half, in the front of each book. 

Many of Yoshitoshi's black and white illustrations later became the basis of single-sheet oban-size color prints designed by a number of his students, as is explained in the notes to the print titled Tame/reject wildness/violence with the sincere spirit of a filial child (IHL Cat. #430) by the artist Kobayashi Toshimitsu (active 1876–1904), a student of Yoshitoshi's‎.

Most, if not all, of the twelve color prints Yoshitoshi designed for the textbooks were reprinted in 1888 and sold as individual sheets.

A Little About the Publisher

Source: Principle, Practice, and the Politics of Educational Reform in Meiji Japan, Mark Elwood Lincicome, University of Hawaii Press, 1995, p. 81-82.
Tsuji Keiji, an alumnus of the Tokyo Normal School and the author of several textbooks, was intensely committed to the dissemination of developmental education. To that end, in 1882 he established his own publishing house, the Fukyūsha (fukyū means “disseminate”), which published numerous books incorporating the principles of developmental education.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #924
 Title Wang Lan Harmony Between Siblings
 Series Nishikie Shūshindan  錦絵修身談
 (Brocade Pictures for Moral Education; also seen translated as Instructive Stories in Color Prints and Color Prints of Stories for Moral Education)
  The print was created for Volume 2 (巻二) of the textbooks.
 Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
芳年画 Yoshitoshi ga 
 Seal unreadable (as shown above), but likely 大蘇 Taiso in seal script
 Date 1882
 Publisher 普及舎 辻敬之 Tsuji Keiji of Fukyūsha
Enkatsu tō 円活刀 [full name Enkatsu Noguchi]
 Impression good
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - center fold from insertion in book
 Genre kyōiku nishikie
 Miscellaneous Keyes 454-5
 Format horizontal aiban folded in half for insertion into textbook
 H x W Paper 8 13/16 x 10 9/16 in. (22.4 x 26.8 cm)
 H x W Image
 8 3/16 x 10 1/16 in. (20.8 x 25.6 cm)
 Collections This Print Philadelphia Museum of Art 1989-47-323
 Reference Literature Yoshitoshi, Masterpieces from the Ed Freis Collection, Chris Uhlenbeck and Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 2011, p. 155, no. 27.
last revision:
1/21/2019 (created)