Hundred Eight Heroes in Water Margin(水滸伝 )
The ukiyoe exhibition is now held at National Museum of Japanese History (歴博) from Aug. 3 to Sept.4, 2022
It features Musha-e (武者絵) of "Water Margin 水滸伝" which was one of the Chinese classic literatures. Musha-e is ukiyo-e prints of warriors.
When "Water Margin" was introduced to Japan in the early Edo era, only the Japanese scholars of the Chinese Classics were attracted to the story because it was written in Chinese characters.
Then kusazoushi (草双紙) which was an illustrated story written with the Japanese syllabary( かな), was published, which contributed a great deal to the popularity of "Water Margin" among the citizens in Edo. UTAGAWA Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳(1798～1861) depicted outlaws who got together at Mount Liang marshland (梁山泊) to rebel the corrupt Song (宗) dynasty. And they ended up surrendering to the dynasty.
Here are some woodblock prints from "Hundred eight heroes in Water Margin"
The woodblock print above was an Uchiwa-e to be pasted on one side of the fan.
Kuniyoshi depicted Lu Zhishen (魯智深) who helped the weak and the unhappy.
He had the nickname "Flowery Monk" because his body was tattooed with flowers.
and Shi Jin (史進) was nicknamed "Nine Tattoo Dragon 九紋龍" because his body was tattooed with nine dragons. He was so nice looking that many readers in Edo period became fan of him.
Kuniyoshi depicted Lu Zhishen as a kabuki actor Shikan, and Shi Jin as a kabuki actor Minosuke.
The print above is from Kuniyoshi's series of woodblock prints illustrating the 108 Suikoden. He depicted Wu Yong (呉用) who was a military strategist and had a nickname of "Kowledgable Star 智多星" in a silent atmosphere.
The print above is from Kuniyoshi's series of woodblock prints illustrating the 108 Suikoden. Kuniyoshi depicted Lin Chong ( 林冲) whose nickname was "Panther Head" and also known as "Instructor Lin 林教頭" "Little Zhang Fei 小張飛"
The print above is from Kuniyoshi's series of woodblock prints illustrating the 108 Suikoden. Kuniyoshi depicted Wo Song (武松) whose nickname was "Pilgrim 行者" .
Wo Song was noted as "Tiger-fighting-Hero" because he killed a tiger with his bare hands on the way back to his hometown.
The print above is from Kuniyoshi's series of woodblock prints illusrating the 108 Suikoden. Kuniyoshi depicted Hu Sanniang (literally "Third Sister Hu") defending herself with a sword in each hand against arrows. Her horse is behind her.
Her nickname was "Ten Feet of Blue 一丈青"
The woodblock print above was from caricature series of 10 prints from "Hundred eight Heroes in Water Margin".
Kuniyoshi depicted Lin Chong (林冲) as a drunken man in the center of the print.
He depicted Xu Ning (徐寧), an expert in Chinese spears with a hook attached next to the tip, as a man trying to pick a peach with a stick at the bottom right of the print.
He depicted Suo Chao(索超), an expert of battle axes, as a man cutting wood at the bottom left corner of the print.
There is an outdoor exhibition of a replica of Dainichi Nyorai(Mahavairocana) 大日如来 which exists in the center of 13 statues of Furuzono Stone group (古園石仏群) in the Usuki Stone Buddhas.
The Usuki Stone Buddhas are collection of sculptures of Buddhas in Usuki, Oita Prefecture and estimated to be carved during the 12th century.
Among the 61 statues, 59 statues were designated as national Treasures of Japan in 1995 (Heisei 7), and the other 2 statues, in 2017 (Hesiei 29).
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