Item from the Mokuhankan Flea Market

Tale of the Soga Brothers

Size: 25.5cm by 36.0cm (10.04 in by 14.17 in) | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [L] ?

Designer: Ando Hiroshige

Era: Taisho | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: ¥ 12,000$ 93.00£ 81.00€ 94.25 [Item has been sold]

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Description: These two prints belong to the series of "Soga Monogatari Zue" (Illustrated Tale of the Soga Brothers, 1843-1847) by Ando Hiroshige. The series consists of 30 or 36 sheets.

The story took place during the Genpei War, a 12th-century civil war between the Minamoto and the Taira clans where Minamoto no Yorimoto was the conqueror and established himself as the first Shogun of Japan. It narrates the tale of Juro Sukenari and Goro Tokimune Soga, two brothers that avenge the death of their father by killing Kudo Suketsune, their political uncle but also the man who assassinated their biological father Kawazu Saburo Sukeyasu when they were only 3 and 5 years old ...! This tale became a popular theme for ukiyo-e prints and kabuki plays.

In the right print, we can perceive the two brothers during their childhood. They are happily looking at a flock of geese descending to the meadow for the night while sitting outside their house. Their mother is inside leaning outside behind the shoji (sliding door) with her hand on his mouth and watching tenderly her children getting excited with the birds. A stream and a mountain surmounted by a big pink cloud are part of the background landscape and complete the scene.

The second print at the left represents the two brothers as young men and how they almost got executed on Yuhi beach! In the background, we can perceive a man riding a black horse hurrying, he is a messenger holding the order by shogun Minamoto Yoritomo to stop the execution. Later, the two brothers had an honorable death: Juro died during a battle and his younger brother Goro was captured and then executed. We can see the sea and some mountains as part of the background landscape.

Even if Hiroshige was a specialist in landscapes, in this print he succeeded in representing human figures mastering the transmission of their emotions through the gestures and expressions they are adopting. However, we can still see its roots through the execution and importance he gives to the landscape.


This print is toned overall and has some spots, and creases but is in good condition for the age remaining nice colors.

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