Toyohara Chikanobu (豊原周延) (artist 1838 – 1912)
Shun 舜 from the series, Parody of 24 examples of filial piety (Nijūshikō mitate e-awase - 二十四孝見立画合)
9.5 in x 13.8 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Yōshū Chikanobu (楊洲周延)
Publisher: Shimizuya Tsunejirō
(Marks 469 - seal 26-069 variant)
Lyon Collection - another print from this series: Kyō Shi Below is R. Keller Kimbrough's translation of an early edition of the Nijūshikō. It does not specifically apply to this Chikanobu print except in the most general terms.
 Great Shun 大舜 (Da Shun)
Elephants in a row, tilling in the spring;“Great Shun was an exceedingly filial person. His father, whose name was Kosō 瞽叟—“Blind Old Man”—was remarkably stubborn, and his mother had a twisted heart. His younger brothers were extremely arrogant, and they were worthless, too. Nevertheless, Great Shun was fervent in his filial piety. One time when he was farming at a place called Mount Reki, Heaven was moved by his filial devotion.5 Great elephants came and tilled his fields, and birds flew to him and pulled the weeds, aiding him in his cultivation. At that time the ruler of the realm was named Emperor Gyō 堯王. He had two daughters, the elder of whom was called Gakō 娥皇, and the younger, Joei 女英. Having received word of Shun’s filial piety, Emperor Gyō immediately gave him his daughters to be his empresses, and in the end he left him the realm. This happened entirely as a result of Great Shun’s profound sense of filial piety.”
a flock of birds weeds the fields.
Succeeding Gyō, he rises to the jeweled throne;
his filial piety moves the emperor’s heart.
Laura Allen wrote on page 153 in The Printer's Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection in reference to an Okamura Masanobu of this same theme shown at the top: "The series title Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety refers to a work said to have been composed by the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) Chinese scholar Guo Jujing. The subject of this print is a virtuous young man known as Dashun (or simply Shun), who never deviated from proper respect toward his family despite harsh treatment from his father, his cruel stepmother, and her jealous son. When scolded or beaten, he simply escaped outside, cultivating the family fields alone. Noting his filial devotion, creatures emerged from the nearby mountains to help: in spring elephants came to plow the furrows, and in summer birds flocked to pull weeds. When the emperor heard this tale, he stepped in and guided the young man, until eventually Shun assumed the throne himself and became a virtuous ruler."
There is another copy of this print in the Hachinohe Clinic Machikado Museum. And there is supposedly another copy in the library at Princeton University.
Shimizuya Tsunejirō (清水屋常次郎) (publisher)
mitate-e (見立て絵) (author)
Nijūshikō (二十四孝: The twenty-four filial exemplars) (genre)