Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Cock (Tori - 酉): Sukune Tarō (宿禰太郎) from the series Mitate Jūnishi
(Selections from the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac - 美盾十二史)

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Dates: 1845,created
Dimensions: 9.875 in,14.125 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: kiri
Publisher: Enshūya Matabei (Marks 057 - seal 22-009)
Censor's seal: Mura

Related links: British Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Waseda University; National Diet Library; Honolulu Museum of Art - Natori Shunsen print of Sukune Tarō; British Museum - another print from this series: the tiger; British Museum - another print from this series: the hare; Lyon Collection - another print from this series: the horse;

Physical description:

In Scene 4 of Act II of the puppet and later kabuki play, Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy Sukune Tarō and his father Hyōe plot the murder of Lord Sugawara. The Lord is planning on leaving the place where he is staying by palanquin carried and escorted by a trusted group of men. However, a group of assassins are planning on showing up earlier with their own palanquin, pretending to be the safe escorts. To fool Sugawara into going with them Hyōe has brought a white rooster which he plans on tricking into crowing before the dawn. He will do this by filling bamboo with boiling water and then placing the rooster on top of it. When the bird feels the warmth radiating through the bamboo it will think that it is morning and will crow hours earlier than normal.

That is the link here that Kuniyoshi has made between the seated figure of Sukune Tarō and this print in the series based on the signs of the Zodiac. In this case the cock (酉).

There is a wonderful print by Natori Shunsen of Sukune Tarō carrying the box with the white rooster in it. We have provided a link that print in the Honolulu Museum of Art above.


Listed in Robinson S38 #10 p.125.