Utagawa Kuniyoshi, The Wrestler Roshi Ensei, a colour woodblock print

Edo period, about AD 1827-30

This print, by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), is one of a series depicting 108 heroes of the Chinese adventure story Shuihu zhuan ('The Water Margin'), which was sensationally popular in a translation that appeared in Japan in the early decades of the nineteenth century. The wrestler's snow-white body was decorated at an early age by a master tattoo artist with an elaborate all-body design of peonies and Chinese shishi (leonine creatures).

Kuniyoshi's prints frequently feature tattoos, and many of his designs have entered the mainstream of modern tattooing.

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More information


J.C.H. King (ed.), Human image (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)


Height: 560.000 mm
Width: 405.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA 1906.12-20.01272



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