Forty-seven Ronin Held Back At Ryogoku Bridge


Museums Victoria

Museums Victoria

This woodblock print depicts a scene from the story of the Revenge of the Forty-Seven Ronin. It was produced by an unknown Japanese woodblock artist and published by Tsujiokaya Bunsuke in Tokyo, Japan, in July 1866. It is possibly a panel of an original triptych; a work of art comprised of three distinct panels.The historical origins of the story of the Forty-Seven Ronin date to 1701. A young daimyo (local feudal lord) Asano Takumi-no-Kami Naganori, had a disagreement with a powerful Edo official of the Tokogawa Shogunate, Kira Kozuke-no-Suke, which resulted in Asano attacking Kira. Such was the disgrace of his actions, Asano committed ritual suicide.With his death, his retainers were made ronin; that is, samurai without a master. One of them, Oishi Kuranosuke Yoshio, who had been a high-ranking samurai in the service of Asano, led a group of forty-seven ronin to avenge Asano's death. They bided their time for two years, leading Kira to believe they were complacent and disloyal retainers, before breaking into Kira's mansion in Edo, beheading him, and laying his head as an offering at the grave of their fallen master, Asano.On the way to Asano's grave, the ronin crossed the snow-covered Ryogoku Bridge, but were temporarily held back by a Hatamoto Samurai, Totori Ippei (also Tottori Itsur, Hattori Itsuro). Being criminals, they were not allowed to go through a main street of Edo. However, the Hatamoto gave a detour to these loyal retainers of Asano.Having placed the severed head of Kira on Asano's grave, forty-six of the ronin - one had been sent off as a messenger - knowing they faced punishment for Kira's death, committed ritual suicide, and were subsequently interred in the grounds of of Sengaku-ji Temple, in front of the tomb of their master.

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  • Title: Forty-seven Ronin Held Back At Ryogoku Bridge
  • Date Created: 1866
  • Physical Dimensions: w247 x h367 mm
  • Type: Object
  • Rights: Copyright expired: Source: Museum Victoria / Artist: Unknown, Copyright expired: Source: Museum Victoria / Artist: Unknown
  • External Link: Museums Victoria Collections
  • Themes: prints, Japanese Art
  • Artist: Unknown