Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) (artist 01/01/1797 – 04/14/1861)
Ruan Xiao Qi or The Devil Incarnate (Katsuenra Genshōshichi - 活閻羅阮小七) from the series The Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Suikoden (Tsūzoku Suikoden gōketsu hyakuhachinin no hitori - 通俗水滸伝豪傑百八人之一個)
ca 1827 – 1830
9.625 in x 14.5 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Kagaya Kichiemon (Marks 194)
Censor's seal: kiwame
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Tokyo National Museum
National Museum of Asian Art
Newark Museum of Art
Portland Art Museum
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art
Royal Museums of Art and History, Belgium (via Cultural Japan) Pearl Buck wrote of this character in All Men are Brothers. "Wu Yung said, 'These three are brothers and they live... in the Village Of The Marble Tablet. Ordinarily they are fishermen by trade. Formerly they... were salt smugglers. Their surname is Juan, and they are three brothers. One is called The God Of Swift Death, Juan The Second; one is called The Short Lived, Juan The Fifth; and one is called The Fierce King Of Devils, Juan The Seventh [our man].... although they were not men who knew books, yet I observed that they were ever willing to be friendly and to help others. They were goodly fellows..." Wu Yung set out to invite these men into a group of bandits.
Something to keep in mind when reading about or researching individual heroes of the Water Margin is that each of them is known by numerous variations of their names and/or epithets. Below is a listing of some of these for this particular figure.
Juan the seventh
Yuan the seventh
The Devil Incarnate
The Fierce King of the Devils
and there are others, there are always others.
1)In Exhibition of Suikoden by Kuniyoshi, Jūzō Suzuki, Riccar Art Museum, Tokyo, 1979 No. 28 and Einbandrückseite in Farbe Kuniyoshi 1798-1861, Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf 1961 Abb. 3 u.a.
2) In full-page color in Of Brigands and Bravery by Inge Klompmakers, p. 73.
3) Kuniyoshi: The Warrior Prints by Robinson, 1982, #S.240.
4) In color in Samurai Stars of the Stage and Beautiful Women: Kunisada and Kuniyoshi, Masters of the Color Woodblock Print by Hatje Cantz, Museum Kunstpalast, #158, p. 186.
5) in a small black and white reproduction in Masterful Illusions, #236, p. 335.
There is another copy of this print in the Kunstpalast Düsseldorf.
Kagaya Kichiemon (加賀屋吉右衛門) (publisher)
warrior prints (musha-e - 武者絵) (genre)
Suikoden (水滸傳) (genre)