Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Sai Jun (蔡順) on the left and Chō Kō (張孝) and Chō Rei (張礼) on the right, from the series The Twenty-four Chinese Paragons of Filial Piety (Morokoshi nijūshi-kō - 唐土廾四孝)

Bookmark and Share
Dates: 1848,created
Dimensions: 13.5 in,9.5 in,Overall dimensions

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga

Related links: Kuniyoshi Project; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - right panel; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - left panel; Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna - left panel; Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna - right panel; Tokyo Metropolitan Library - right panel;

Physical description:

The text below was composed by Ryūkatei Tanekazu (柳下亭種員: 1807-58).

The text to the right panel reads: 張孝(ちやうかう)張禮(ちやうれい) 兄弟(けいてい)なり父(ちゝ)におくれ母に事(つか)へて孝(かう)なり一年米穀(べいこく)豊(ゆたか)ならず大に饒作(けうさく)の時幼童(えうとう)の身として老母を養(やしな)ふたよりなく木(こ)の実(み)を拾(ひろ)ひて供(まいら)すとて張礼(ちやうれい)は山にゆきけるに林間(りんかん)に賊(ぞく)ありて張礼を烹(にて)喰(く)はんといふ礼(れい)大ひにおどろき我(われ)一人の母に此食(しょく)を与(あた)へふたゝび来らんと約(やく)して帰(かへり)しが兄の張孝これをきゝて両個(ふたり)死(し)をゆつり合てやます賊(ぞく)これを□じ米二石(こく)塩(しほ)一駄(た)をあたへ去(さ)りしとなん

The book entitled The Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety was written by the Chinese scholar Guo Jujing during the Yuan Dynasty. His pen name was Yizi, and he is known in Japan as Kaku Kyokei. The book recounts the self-sacrificing behavior of twenty-four sons and daughters who go to extreme lengths to honor their parents, stepparents, grandparents, and in-laws. Many of the images in this series appear Western in style, rather than Japanese, and were probably copied from Italian prints. The prints in this edition appear to have been printed two per ōban sheet (about 9.5 x 13.5 inches) and folded to chuban pages (about 9.5 x 6.75 inches). The were once bound together in an album.

Japanese name: Saijun
Chinese name: Ts’ai Shun

During a famine, Saijun went into the forest to pick berries for his mother and divided his take into ripe and unripe berries. Later, when accosted by brigands and asked about the berries, he explained that he intended to eat the unripe berries and give the ripe ones to his mother. The rebels were so impressed that they gave Saijun some meat to take home. Here Saijun encounters the brigands.

Robinson: S60.17

Japanese name: Chōkō and Chōrei
Chinese name: Chang Hsiao and Chang Li

Chōkō and Chōrei were brothers who, to support their 80 year old mother, gathered berries in the forest. One day on his way home Chōkō was attacked by robbers. As he had no money, the robbers wanted to kill him, but Chōkō begged that he might first deliver the food. Just then Chōrei appeared and offered his own life in place of his brother’s. So impressed were the robbers that they set both brothers free and gave them salt and rice. Here Chōrei is offering his own life in place of his brother’s.

Robinson: S60.21

[The above English-language information is all taken directly from the Kuniyoshi Project.]