Watōnai subduing a tiger
Watōnai subduing a tiger

Katsukawa Shun'ei (勝川春英) (artist 1762 – 1819)

Watōnai subduing a tiger


ca 1780 – 1790
5.5 in x 25.25 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Shun'ei ga (春英画)
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yohachi
(Marks 391 - seal 23-016)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Judging from the number of extant variants on this theme this was a popular subject for Shun'ei. Offhand we know of three other examples which are illustrated in James King and Yuriko Iwakiri's book on Japanese warrior prints.

Watōnai is the hero of the play Kokusenya kassen or The Battle of Coxinga. One day, after returning to China with his parents, Watōnai was walking through a bamboo forest when he encountered a tiger. "He did not kill the beast but charmed and subdued it." (King and Iwakiri, p. 116.)
pillar prints (hashira-e - 柱絵) (genre)
Nishimuraya Yohachi (西村屋与八) (publisher)
warrior prints (musha-e - 武者絵) (genre)
Battle of Coxinga (Kokusenya Kassen - 国性爺合戦) (genre)