Friday, June 22, 2012

Kuniyoshi Triptychs Part 1

I'm back on the blog! Man it's been a long time since I've touched this, but I've read a lot of manga, played a lot of Cave Story, and have watched a hell of a lot of Star Trek! I've returned to the civilized world now to share my treasure haul of findings! This post is concerning my current Ukiyo-e fascination. A master none other than the floating world's finest, Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Well let me think about that... Edo period's finest... well I'd actually have to pit Kuniyoshi against Hokusai for that title... man they're just too hard to compare and call a single winner. I'm happy to just say, Kuniyoshi = Triptych King! Hokusai = Landscape Legend!

As you'll notice by the following examples, 'Triptych King' is no overstatement - Kuniyoshi made hundreds of them. They're all good and many of them are positively wonderful. It's hard to choose but I've started with three depicting samurai doing outragous things. Samurai - lords who ruled as demi gods over the rest of humanity. I find it an odd circumstance because from what I know about that way of life, while on one hand, holding personal and family honor at such high value, they at the same time also trampled and disvalued life they considered dishonorable and scorn-worthy. That's basically anybody not of noble descent! Anyway...

Below we see a samurai lord having a king-sized temper tantrum. From the looks of it he's spent the last few minutes trashing this estate in desperate search of a misplaced item. It must certainly be quite valuable for him to have become so outraged - valuable enough that if missing it might cost him his honor and with it, quite possibly his life. Poor people around him... He appears to be blaming them and I'll bet heads'll roll if that item's not found soon.

The next two are my favorite Kuniyoshi triptychs. I love them both, yet for very different reasons. Both capture the essence of an mirachous moment in time. The "split second" type. The "Blink and you'll have missed it" type moments! Directly below we see what was a second ago, obviously a heated game of go. Two samurai, each accompanied by his own entourage, were satisfied with the game enough to keep their blades sheathed. Well one of them must have said something that ticked the other off because now somebody's gonna get killed! Man! Look at all the stuff going on! White and black go pieces flying everywhere! Guards rushing in to restrain the center dude who, like Hercules, is hoisting of the game block up and has a courtesan by the hair! Sugoi!
Phew... lets calm down... next favorite - an ocean scene. Three badasses are swimming their horses across a bay, with the obvious intention of getting the jump on their camped opponents. Upon closer inspection however you'll notice that this isn't acctually such a calm depiction after all. Notice the arrow about to pierce the central horse's throat?! Talk about a miraculous moment...
I plan to do several more Kuniyoshi posts as well as some Hokusai soon after that. Stay tuned for more great media. And if you like what I've shared here don't hesitate to pass this blog on to your art fan friends. I want more followers yo!

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