Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) Mid to late 19th century
Lot 75*
Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) Mid to late 19th century
Sold for £16,800 (US$ 28,237) inc. premium
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Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889)
Mid to late 19th century
kakejiku, in ink, gold and colour on silk, depicting Shoki and two oni, the demon-queller is shown grabbing by the scruff of the neck a demon in one hand whilst the other wielding a sword, prepares to strike another demon cowering behind, signed Kyosai ga with seal Seisei Kyosai; with tomobako inscribed Seisei Kyosai shoki no zu. 113cm x 41cm (44½in x 16 1/8in). (2).

Footnotes

  • 鐘馗図 河鍋暁斎 一幅 絹本着色 19世紀中期-後期

    Kawanabe Kyosai, ukiyo-e artist and painter, sometimes referred to as the second Hokusai was also known as Gyosai. He was born Kawanabe Noriyuki to a samurai family in Koga, Shimosa province (now part of Ibaraki prefecture) and brought up in Edo. At seven he entered the atelier of the ukiyo-e master Utagawa Kuniyoshi and from the age of eleven he studied with Kano school artists. Among his many pupils was the English architect Josiah Conder (1852-1920) who became a student of Kyosai in the last years of the artist's life and published the first catalogue of his work in English.

    According to legend, Shoki (Chinese: Zhong Gui) was a Tang period scholar who committed suicide after failing to pass the imperial civil-service examination. Posthumously honored by the emperor, he swore, through his ghost, to protect the empire from demons. He then became a top official with the heavenly Ministry of Exorcism. Known as a demon queller in Edo Japan, the fierce looking and bearded Shoki is widely represented in art, tangling with demons who try to get the better of him. Shoki's image also appeared on kites, banners and other pictures which were flown or hung for the Boys' Festival on the fifth day of the fifth month, along with images of other heroes. Kyosai had a particular fondness for painting Shoki, a personage who complemented the artist's repertoire of eccentric figure subjects.

    Another painting by Kyosai featuring a similarly executed composition of Shoki and two demons previously in the Josiah Conder collection was sold in these rooms, 6th November 2007, lot 197.
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