Benkei and Ushikawa-maru Fight on Gojo Bridge


An early edition of Kuniyoshi's depiction of the warrior monk Benkei; who was of giant stature and picked fights with travellers who crossed Gojo bridge in Kyoto, and swore to collect from them 1000 weapons. After he had amassed 999, he faced the teenage Ushikawa-maru as his next opponent. Highly skilled and trained by a master, Ushikawa successfully defeated Benkei, who promptly became his follower.  
The earliest printings of this design, of which this piece is, have a diagonal band of deep blue with wiped edges, which passes across a lighter blue river. In the early printings, all the mountains have a gradated band of black across their summits, and gradated black is also used on the top half of the bridge pillars. (Clark, Timothy, ed. Kuniyoshi: From the Arthur R. Miller Collection. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2009, p. 66).

Dimensions: 19.5 x 36 in.