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Zeng Shen (Soshin) Returns with Firewood

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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Zeng Shen (Soshin) Returns with Firewood, 06/01/1890
Ink on Paper
14 in. x 9 3/8 in. (35.56 cm x 23.81 cm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Meiji (Japan, 1869-1912)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 98.4.14

Alternate Title: Nijushi ko mitate e- awase: No. 2, Soshin
Full Title: Juxtaposed Pictures of Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety: No.2, Zeng Shen (Soshin) Returns with Firewood

Previously bound with accension numbers 98.4.1-98.4.43 in a book.

Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu”

Color woodblock print.

Object Description
In many, but not all, of the 24 examples, Chikanobu substitutes a female for the male Chinese paragon, making the series part of the didactic vocabulary available to young Japanese women who need to learn such values. In the second print of the set, Zeng Shen carrying a load of firewood for his mother has hurried home because he felt pain in his own hand when his mother accidentally bit her finger. Chikanobu has contrasted this with two Japanese women who have gathered large bundles of brushwood. While the larger picture, if seen alone, is simply a genre image, the coupling of this rural view with the Chinese legend gives added value to menial labor.

For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue.

See also: 2001.2.7

Purchased in Japan by Professor Bruce Coates in 1998, with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures.

Hasegawa Tojiro

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