- Museum number
Woodblock print with very slight hand-colouring. Tokiwa Gozen at Fushimi in snow, leading two of sons by hand, and third inside her kimono; old couple in house in background. Inscribed.
- Production date
- 1690 (circa)
Height: 68.60 centimetres (external mount)
Height: 56.10 centimetres
Width: 50.70 centimetres (external mount)
Width: 30.60 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Tokiwa Gozen and her three infant sons were given shelter from the snow by an elderly couple at Fushimi, after they fled the defeat of Yoshitomo in the Heiji war of 1159. Together with the better-known Moronobu, Sugimura Jihei first formulated the racy new style of Ukiyo-e. He designed many illustrated books, erotica and some grand large-format designs such as this. The print may be connected with joruri chanted performances of the tale of Tokiwa Gozen, which were in vogue at the time.
(Label copy, TTC, 1998)
The title 'Fushimi Tokiwa' is also the name of a dance. The noblewoman Tokiwa Gozen, mistress of Yoshitomo, fled following his defeat in the Heiji wars of the late twelfth century. She travelled barefoot in the snow into the mountains with her three children, the youngest of whom was to become Japan's greatest hero, Minamoto no Yoshitsune. She was sheltered overnight by an old couple at Fushimi, who in this print are shown top left below the title cartouche. This is one of the favourite subjects of popular art in the Edo period.
Smith et al 1990
Tokiwa Gozen, mistress of the warrior Minamoto no Yoshitomo, fled with her three sons after Yoshitomo's defeat in the Heiji war of 1159. At Fushimi they were offered refuge from a violent snowstorm by a humble elderly couple. By the end of the seventeenth century this touching scene had entered the repertoire of popular ballad singers ('sekkyo joruri'), and this large print may in fact have been used to illustrate such a public recitation. Tokiwa is dressed not in historical costume but in a fashionable kimono of the day.
Large prints from the end of the seventeenth century by Sugimura and his contemporary Hishikawa Moronobu (c. 1618-94) are extremely rare, and this may be the only impression of this handsome design to have survived.
Ueno Royal Museum (Ueno no Mori Bijutsukan), 'Daiei Hakubutsukan shozo ukiyo-e meisakuten', ed. Narazaki Muneshige, Tokyo, 1985, no. 3.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2007 Jun 13-Oct 7, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2016 Jan- Feb, Chiba, Japan, Chiba City Museum, "Ukiyo-e"
- Acquisition date
- Registration number