Saigo Takamori Kogoshima Loyalists Altogether, 3/28/1877
Ink on Paper
35.2 cm x 71.7 cm (13 7/8 in. x 28 1/4 in.)
There are 19 text seals on the three panels.
Colored ink woodblock on off-white paper. Oban triptych.
This imaginary group portrait has Saigo Takamori (1827-1877) seated at the top center panel dressed in a European style officer's uniform. He seems to direct his gaze toward Murata Shinpachi (1836-1877), his deputy in charge of the artillery, seated on a chair in the lower left, and Major General Kirino Toshiaki (1838-1877), who stands near Murata dressed in a black uniform. To Saigo's left is Major General Shinohara Kunimoto (1838-1877), who would die in an assault of Tabaruzaka on 4 March 1877, so if this print is to represent a real event, the meeting is probably one that Saigo called in his tent on the night of 24 February 1877. Kirino wanted an immediate all-out attack on Kumamoto Castle, but Saigo decided to redistribute his troops in the region to halt the advance of the Imperial Army. This was probably the last meeting of all the Satsuma Rebellion leaders. During the next two months Saigo's army would be reduced from 10,000 to less than 300, by death, injury, capture or desertion, and his 54 day siege of Kumamoto Castle would ultimately fail.
The labeled figures are (from left to right): Saigo Kohei (Takamori's younger brother), Murata Shinpachi, Fuchibe Takaaki, Kirino Toshiaki, Nagayama Yaichiro kneeling with a gun, Beppu Shinosuke with a revolver and sword, Maebara Issei with a map, Saigo Takamori, Ikegami Shiro, Itsumi Juro, Asai Chokunoshin, Shinohara Kunimoto holding a fan and wearing two swords, Matsunaga Kiyonojo, Nakashima Takehiko, Higo Sukezaemon, and Kawano Shiro.
For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue.
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