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The Loyal League: Images from Japan’s Enduring Tale of Samurai Honor and Revenge
April 20 @ 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 11:00am on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, repeating until June 24, 2018
The Loyal League of 47 samurai, or commonly known in Japan as “Chūshingura” (literally “The Treasury of Loyal Retainers”), is the most significant samurai loyalty-revenge story. It has come to encompass a historical incident and all subsequent related theatrical, literary, and visual materials. Drawn from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s permanent collection and supplemented with private loans, this exhibition examines the wide-ranging pictorial representations of the drama “Chūshingura” in the flourishing “ukiyo” (floating-world) woodblock prints and illustrated books, and paintings from the late 18th through the 19th centuries. Images range from stage-like representations to landscape prints with incidental but identifiable figures, from theatrical figural stances to bust-portraits glorifying individual heroes or actors. The works in the exhibition include prints by “ukiyo-e” print artists Utamaro, Toyokuni, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Kuniyosh and Kunisada, and paintings by Kinkoku and Nichōsai.
Image: Kunisada, Japanese, “Act X: Disguised Rōnin Testing the Loyalty of Merchant Gihei,” from a “Chūshingura” series, first issued 1830s. Color woodblock print, triptych. SBMA, Gift of F. Bailey Vanderhoef, Jr.