HANGAN’S DAGGER (Utagawa Kunisada)

N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Year: 1854
Condition: good
Size: 37 x 24,5 cm



En’ya Hangan (塩冶判官), before his death, managed to communicate to his chief retainer Oboshi Yuranosuke (大星由良之助) the desire to leave him as a katami (形見) keepsake the dagger used during the ritual suicide imposed on him by the shogun (将軍). Yuranosuke, who we see here on the right holding the dagger and together with other loyal retainers of Hangan, has understood his lord’s secret message to carry out revenge on his behalf.

The precious woodblock print presented here is dedicated to the fourth act (四段目) of the play inspired by the heroic deeds of the forty-seven ronin (四十七士) entitled Chushingura (忠臣蔵), “The Treasury of Loyal Retainers”, and is taken from a homonymous series of prints made by the famous artist Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞).

The work, produced in May 1854 by the publisher Tsutaya Kichizo (蔦屋吉蔵), owner of Koeido (紅英堂), and by the carver Tsuge Shojiro (津下庄治郎), despite the signs of aging including some paper wrinkles, is in good general condition.