Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) (artist 01/01/1797 – 04/14/1861)
U (Hare - 卯): Shinozuka Iga no Kami (篠塚伊賀守) from the series Eiyu Yamato junishi (Japanese Heroes for the Twelve Signs - 英雄大倭十二支)
10 in x 14.5 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Mikawaya Kihei (Marks 336 - seal 12-047)
Date seal: 7/1854
Censor's seal: aratame
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Lyon Collection - another print from this series: the Monkey
Shinozuka Iga no Kami standing on the shore, in black armour and a white-maned helmut. The white fur is blind-printed. The maedate or crest is made up of a running or leaping hare with long ears. This warrior is fiercely holding a long spear.
This is the only example in this series where the Zodiac animal shows up as part of a helmut's design.
From the sereis: Eiyu Yamato Junsi-shi, Japanese heroes for the Twelve Signs. This print represents the Zodiac sign of the hare. Illustrated in a small black and white reproduction in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior Prints by B. W. Robinson, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1982, p. 159. S84.4.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has identified this prints publisher as Mitaya Kihachi (Marks 335), but Marks says this seal belongs to Mikawaya Kihei (#326).
Mikawaya Kihei (三河屋喜兵衛) (publisher)
warrior prints (musha-e - 武者絵) (genre)
Jūnishi (十二支 - 12 signs of the Zodiac) (genre)