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Onzōshi Ushiwakamaru (御曹子.牛若丸), the young Yoshitsune, and Musashibō Benkei at the beginning of their struggle on Gojō Bridge [五条橋]

Identifier: 1800 Shunzan gojo bridge

Ushiwaka Maru (the young Yoshitsune) on Gojō Bridge with Benkei is brandishing a traditional Japanese war fan with a red sun against a black field. Above is a link to another Shunzan print, a hashira-e, in the British Museum showing Ushiwakamaru hold the same war fan.


The 'onzoshi' of the title of this print means 'son of a distinguished family'.


The signature on this print, 勝春山 ('Katsu Shunzan'), without the 川 ('river') part of his name, appears on a number of other prints by this artist - including the next item by Shunzan in the Lyon Collection.


As noted above the copy of this print in the British Museum has a different publisher's seal. Why? Publisher, not artists, owned the woodblocks used in producing a print. For whatever reason, these blocks were often sold off to other publishing houses and then came out displaying the seals of their new owners.

The publisher of the British Museum print is Mikawaya (Marks U223 - seal 25-216). The dates for this house are ca. 1779 to 1828. The one in the Lyon Collection is Sōshūya Yohei. Andreas Marks dates the use of this seal from 1815-29. Therefore, since Shunzan died in 1793 the print in the Lyon Collection would be later than that in the British Museum. This would make the original publication date of this print as somewhere between ca. 1785 t0 1790 or so - give or take several years either way.

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