JAPANESE PRINTS

A MILLION QUESTIONS

TWO MILLION MYSTERIES

 

Ukiyo-e Prints

浮世絵版画

Port Townsend, Washington

 

UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI

国芳

うたがわくによし

This is print #10 from a series of comical representations of the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden

Kyōga Suikoden gōketsu hyakuhachinin

 狂画水滸伝豪傑一百八

Date: Early 1830s

Publisher: Kagaya Kichiemon

加賀屋吉右衛門

かがやきちえもん

Size: 14 7/8" x 10"

Illustrated:
Another copy of this print is shown on line at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
web site. It is from the William Sturgis Bigelow Collection -
accession number 11.36747a-j

Condition: Good color. Backed. Horizontal center fold. 

Color has been restored to areas where there were several small  worm tracks.

$540.00

SOLD!

 

     
   
     

 

 

This print is from a set of ten. 

This is number ten.

 

 

険道神郁保四

(Chinese names: Yu Baosi; Ju Pao Ssu; Yu Pao-ssu)

"Colossal Spirit"

In the three volume translation I have of the Outlaws of the Marsh Yu Baoshi first appears in Chapter 68. There he is referred to as the "Spirit of the Dangerous Road". At the beginning of the chapter he has just stolen from the Water Margin Outlaws more than 200 freshly purchased horses and taken them to Zengtou Village. If that weren't bad enough this was the second time he had done this and from the same group too. Determined to make them pay one of his pursuers was so irate he declared "I hate them [i.e., Yu and his cohorts] to the marrow of my bones. I'll get my revenge or, I swear, I'll never return."

 

"Flea on a Drum" [see the section below] who "...he can fly over caves and skim atop walls" is sent out to reconnoiter the village.  Upon his return Flea describes their defenses and adds that "Yu Baosi...is a huge fellow with an enormous girth... [as if they didn't already know that.] He's feeding those horses he stole inside the monastery grounds." A plan of attack was devised. A plan of defense was devised. And in time the battle was joined.

 

Zengtou Village got the worst of it. Senior Zeng lost two sons in the initial conflicts. After his defenses were breached he sued for peace. While claiming personal innocence and blaming others for the situation he agreed to return the stolen horses and offered compensation to the opposing army.  The victors demanded that Yu Baoshi also be turned over to them. After some negotiations another Zeng son and Yu Baoshi returned the horses in person, but one was missing - "White Jade Lion that Glows in the Night." The man who now 'owned' the horse balked at its return, but agreed to discuss the matter if the 'Outlaws' would withdraw the men. In the meantime, reinforcements were on their way to help the village. Song Jiang, the leader of the 'Outlaws', summoned Yu Baoshi and made him a simple offer: If he would change sides Song would make him one of their own and give him a leadership position. "Vengeance against you for stealing our horses will be forgotten. I'll break an arrow in pledge. If you won't co-operate, Zengtou will soon be destroyed. It's up to you." Yu agreed.

 

Now working for the other side Yu went back to the village and convinced them to attack the 'Outlaws' that night in a secret raid. Of course, it was all a trap - a trap called "The Foreign Hunting Dog Waits for the Quarry in Its Den" trap, to be exact. When the villagers got to the enemy camp they found it empty while at the same time the heard the sounds of the attack behind them on their home base. Papa Zeng realizing all was lost hung himself. Another of his sons died from the thrust of a halberd while  yet another son "...was trampled to jelly in the chaos by horses' hoofs." Soon all of the other relatives of the Zeng family were massacred and the village was looted completely. And what about that horse? You know, "White Jade Lion that Glows in the Night." Well, Song Jiang got him back.

 

And that is how we first encountered Yu Baoshi, the big man holding a fan while sitting on the wicker bench featured in the print above.

 

In Chapter 69 after Yu Baoshi has joined forces with the 'Outlaws' the group decides that they don't have enough provisions even though they have just plundered Zengtou Village. So they gave an ultimatum to two other towns. Both refuse to give in. Yu is familiar with one of them and he along with another fellow are sent to Dongping to deliver their demands in writing. The general in command there is furious and demands that the emissaries be decapitated, but is dissuaded from doing so on the grounds of precedent. "But the general was still fuming. He had the two bound and beaten till their skin split and their flesh burst asunder, and then had them driven from the town.

 

The returned to the camp, weeping. 'That lout of a general has no sense of fitness,' they complained."

 

KOJŌSŌ JISEN

鼓上蚤時遷 

(Chinese names: Shi Qian; Shih Ch'ien)

"Flea on a Drum"

 

 

玉臂匠金大堅

(Chinese names: Jin Dajian; Ching Ta Chien)

"The Jade Arm Engraver"

 

 

 

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