The Loyal League: Images from Japan’s Enduring Tale of Samurai Honor and Revenge

Posted on Mar 21 by SEASONS Magazine

 

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.

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.

The Loyal League of 47 samurai, commonly known in Japan as Chūshingura (literally The Treasury of Loyal Retainers), is the most celebrated samurai loyalty-revenge story. The historical incident came to be represented in theatrical, literary, and visual materials. Drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection and supplemented with private loans, this exhibition examines the wide-ranging pictorial representations of the drama Chūshingura in ukiyo (floating-world) woodblock prints, 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 poses to bust-portraits, glorifying individual heroes or actors. The works in the exhibition include prints by ukiyo-e printmakers Utamaro, Toyokuni, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, and Kunisada, and paintings by Kinkoku and Nichōsai.

The exhibit is on view from March 25 to June 10 at Santa Barbara Museum of Art1130 State St.  Guests can enjoy half-price admission through 2018. N

Note: During the construction period, please enter through the Museum Store or Park entrance (nearest to the Library).

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