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Yanone from the series Seihō's Masterpieces


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Yanone (The Arrowhead)

from the series Seihō's Masterpieces (set two)

(Seihō's ippin shū)

by Takeuchi Seihō, 1941

IHL Cat. #909

About This Print and the Series Seihō's Masterpieces

This print titled Yanone was released August 25, 1941 as part of the second of two sets of sixty-six prints titled Seihō's Masterpieces (aka Seihō's Masterworks), printed and issued by Unsōdō Publishing.  It is listed as print 21 (二一) in set two's table of contents sheet.

This print, which is also in the Spencer Collection at the New York Public Library, pictures the character Soga Gorō Tokimune and the horse he has stolen to rescue his brother in the kabuki play Yanone.  The print was issued as one of four prints in the sixth envelope of set two.  The colophon, shown below, pasted to the envelope, gives the dates of printing and issue, the titles of the prints, copyright information, and information about the publisher.

The original ink on paper painting, mounted on a silk scroll (shown below) that this print is after is in the collection of the Adachi Museum of Art.  While the print and the drawing look similar, note the difference in the cloud(s) in the upper right.

A combination of print processes (see further discussion see the article "Takeuchi Seihō: Seihō's Masterpieces.") were used for this series and this particular print is a woodblock print.

The Play "Yanone"
Source: Kabuki Eighteen Traditional Dramas, Kawatake Toshio, Chronicle Books, 1885, p. 58.
Yanone is a famous kabuki play first staged in 1729.  It tells the story of the legendary Soga brothers, Gorō and Jūrō.  Soga Gorō Tokimune, a hotheaded younger brother of Jūrō Sukenari, is celebrating the New Year.  He dreams that his brother is in danger.  He steals a horse and using a radish as the whip, rides off to help him at the house of Kudō Suketsune, the murderer of their father. 

To avenge their father's death, the Soga grothers (c. 12th century) who boldly killed Suketsune when he was on a hunting expedition on Mt. Fuji with Minamoto Yoritomo, are celebrated in numerous plays of Kabuki repertoire traditionally stage in January.

Colophon Envelope 6 Set Two
Dated August 25, 1941
Date of issue reads Showa 16 (1941), 8th month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 16 (1941), 8th month, 20th day
click on image to enlarge

The Series "Seihō's Masterpieces"

For images of all sixty-six prints and a description of the series, please go to the article "Takeuchi Seihō: Seihō's Masterpieces."

Original Ink on Silk Scroll Painting
 足立美術館 Adachi Museum of Art

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #917
 TitleThe Arrowhead (Yanone 矢の根)

To the left is the label attached to the rear of the sheet the print was originally tipped to.  It reads: 

Across the top: 不許複製 All rights reserved

Rightmost column: 竹内栖鳳先生筆 Takeuchi Seihō sensei hitsu with title of print 矢の根 to its left. 

Leftmost column: 芸艸堂 publisher's name Unsōdō, copyright restrictions and addresses of Unsōdō's offices in Kyoto and Tokyo.
 Series Seihō's Masterpieces (栖鳳逸品集 Seihō's ippin shū) (set 2)
 Takeuchi Seihō (1864-1942)
 Seal unread, as shown above
 Publication Date August 25, 1941
 Edition original and only edition
 Publisher  Unsōdō Publishing
 Printer Shinmi Saburō 新味 三朗
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Miscellaneous removed from its original heavy paper backing/matting
 Genre nihonga (also classed as e-hon, as the series prints exist as bound volumes)
 Format non-standard
 H x W Paper and Image
 15 x 18 1/2 in. (38.1 x 47 cm )
 Collections This Print New York Public Library, Spencer Collection; Rijksmuseum RP-P-2005-615-20
 Reference Literature The Artist and the Book in Japan, Roger S. Keyes, The University of Washington Press with New York Public Library, December 2006, p. 252-253; The Art of the Japanese Book, 2 vols., Jack Hillier, Sotheby's Publications, 1987, p. 992-993.