In 1183, Kiso Yoshinaka, a powerful clan of the Feudal Age, revolts against the Emperor in Kyoto, and the Emperor commands the Shogun Yoritomo to conquer the rebels. On the departure of the warriors for the front, the Shogun Yoritomo gives his excellent black steed, called Ikezuki, to Kajiwara Kagesue, a devoted soldier. He gives another excellent white steed, called Surusumi, to Sasaki Takatsuna, Kagesue’s rival, and lets each warrior pledge himself to take command and obtain victory in the coming battle.
Takatsuna and Kagesue both start to the front and each tries his best in this race to take the initiative. In pursuit of the enemy, they have to cross the Uji River. After a contest Takatsuna gains victory over Kagesue and then leads in putting the enemy to rout. From this context the Uji River and the names of the two warriors have become very famous in the war history of Japan.
The Woodblock Print
This woodblock is in excellent/exceptional condition with vibrant colors, solid registry lines, full margins. Unlike many prints from this era that were packaged and framed in acid paper and suffered damage as a result, this one is incredibly clean without any discolorations at all. Full margins, clean verso. A collector’s copy of this stunning print.
About the Artist
Sadanobu Hasegawa III (1881-1963) is the third in a long line of Japanese printmakers, following his father and grandfather into the profession. Born in Osaka as the son of Sadanobu II, he was the student of Shijo painter Ueda Kocho, and later the student of Utagawa Sadamasu, becoming a member of the Osaka School. Most of the woodblock prints by Sadanobu Hasegawa III were made after World War II.
Sadanobu Hasegawa III worked to adopt the art of Japanese printmaking to the 20th century. Most of his work was commissioned by the Uchida company in Kyoto, one of the largest publishers of woodblock prints in Japan at the time. His technique followed the old Japanese tradition of hand making all of the blocks, while occasionally adding more modern features to some of his prints like embossing of metal pigments.
Sadanobu Hasegawa III adopted a style which was a combination of old okiyo-e traditions with a modern approach. His subjects included the traditional focuses of ukiyo-e tradition such as kabuki theater, the bunraku puppet theater, beautiful girls from Kyoto, as well as scenes and events from Japan’s medieval history and legends. His work primarily catered to the foreign market, and his selections of colors and subjects almost portrayed a Disneyland image of Japan.