Kumasaka's night attack on Ushiwaka-Maru at the Akasaka Post-station in Mino province

This triptych illustrates an episode from the life of the popular hero Yoshitsune (1159-89), who was also known as Ushiwaka-maru (young ox).

In 1174 Ushiwaka escaped from the temple and joined the armed caravan of a gold merchant on his way to northern Japan. On the journey they were attacked by a group of bandits led by Kumasaka Chohan, a giant lay-priest.

The young Ushiwaka is represented in the centre panel, battling with the bandits. A triangular beam of light cuts across the entire triptych illuminating the main characters of the encounter in polychrome colours, contrasting with the duo-tone pinks and greys of the night scene.

Kumasaka's night attack on Ushiwaka-Maru at the Akasaka Post-station in Mino province Utagawa YOSHITORA
Japanese active 1850s-1880s
Kumasaka's night attack on Ushiwaka-maru at the
Akasaka Post-station in Mino Province

1860 Edo, Japan

colour woodblock (triptych)
36.9 x 75.4 cm (image and sheet) (overall)
Purchased, 1992 (AS12.a-c-1992)

Kumasaka's night attack on Ushiwaka-Maru at the Akasaka Post-station in Mino province

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