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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (月岡芳年)

Print: The temple acolyte Shiragikumaru (Tera koshō Shiragikumaru - 寺扈従白菊丸)
from the series Sagas of Beauty and Bravery (Biyū Suikoden - 美勇水滸伝)

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Dates: 1866,created
Dimensions: 6.75 in,9.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu
一魁斎芳年筆
Publisher: Ōmiya Kyūjirō (Marks 415 - seal 30-034)
Combined date and aratame censor seal: 10/1866

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Marega Collection, Universita Pontificia Salesiana; National Gallery of Victoria; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - a related Kuniyoshi print from the 100 Poets series; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - a related Toyokuni III print of Shiragikumaru; Waseda University - another Toyokuni III print related to a story of Shiragikumaru;

Physical description:

Shiragikumaru is the thing of legends. He was a beautiful boy serving as a page in a Buddhist temple. Loved by the priest Jikyū, he is also pursued by other monks. Jikyū and Shiragikumaru resolve to commit suicide by jumping into the sea off of Enoshima after exchanging the halves of an incense box. That way they will be able to identify each other in a future life. Shiragikumaru drowns, but Jikyū survives their love pact. Seventeen years later Jikyū, now called Seigen, is a high-ranking priest at another temple when Sakurahime, a beautiful young woman, comes to him seeking his assistance in helping her become a nun. She wants to be a nun because of a disgrace she has brought to her family. Seigen recognizes her as the reincarnation of his former young gay lover Shiragikumaru. He then falls in love with her.

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"The chūban prints from this series were printed two to a block and then cut... The production of the set lasted from 4/1866-4/1867. Once completed, it was issued with an unsigned, undated title page and a contents page that itemised all fifty prints, with the signature Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi ga (picture by Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi) and the name of Kanagaki Robun in the left margin."

Quoted from: Yoshitoshi: Masterpieces from the Ed Freis Collection, page 85. The authors note that there appears to be a later edition where the publisher's seal has been left blank.

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There are 8 other images from this series in the Lyon Collection (#s 404, 1076, 1103, 1155, 1156, 1157, 1188 and 1189), plus the frontispiece (#1191) and title page (#1190).

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There is another copy of this print in the National Gallery of Victoria.