Luji (Rikuseki) Brings Oranges to His Mother
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Luji (Rikuseki) Brings Oranges to His Mother, 1890
Ink on Paper
14 in. x 9 3/8 in. (35.56 cm x 23.81 cm)
Previously bound with accension numbers 98.4.1-98.4.43 in a book.
Signed: Yoshu Chikanobu. Carver: Hori Asa.
Color woodblock print.
In the upper panel, Chikanobu has illustrated a scene from the story of Luji (Rikuseki), one of the paragons of filial piety. When Luji and his father visited the Chief Minister of Nan Yang, they were offered a dish of oranges to eat. After eating two, Luji secretly hid three more away in his sleeves. When Luji raised his hand to wave goodbye, the oranges fell out of his sleeves. When the Minister asked him why he was stealing oranges, Luji said that his mother loved oranges but they were too poor to afford them, so he was going to bring these oranges home to her. The minister was so impressed that he gave the entire plate of oranges to Luji to take home to his mother.
A verse in Luji's honor reads,
"Filial love and brotherhood made nature 'Heaven-True',
Most rare in a boy just six years old.
He hid three oranges in his sleeve, as a gift for his Mom,
Just a token to repay her kindness without end."
Using elements from the original Chinese story, Chikanobu has illustrated a picture of a mother scolding her young son for secreting several oranges away in his voluminous sleeves.
Purchased in Japan by Professor Bruce Coates in 1998, with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures.
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