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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
24 Paragons of Filial Piety: No. 18, Yu Qianlou (Yu Kinro), c. 1889-1890
Ink on Paper
13 3/8 in. x 8 11/16 in. (33.97 cm x 22.07 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: 2008.1.62

Alternate Title: 24 Paragons of Filial Piety: No. 18, Yu Qianlou (Yu Kinro)
Full Title: Juxtaposed Pictures of Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety: No. 18, Yu Qianlou (Yu Kinro)

Object Description
The upper panel depicts a scene from the story of Yu Qianlou (J. Yu Kinro), one of the twenty-four paragons of filial piety. Yu Qianlou served as the governor of Jianling province, when one day, he suddenly felt a pain in his heart. Suspecting that something was amiss at home, he immediately resigned and rushed back home. Upon arriving, he discovered that his father had fallen ill. The physician informed him that there was only one way to know if his father would recover, and that was to taste the old man's stool. If it was bitter, then all would be well; if it was sweet, then the illness was severe. Yu Qianlou tasted the stool, and to his dismay, it was sweet. In despair, he prayed to the North Star, offering his life in exchange for his father's. When word traveled around of his prayers, he was praised for his devotion.

"He served in office but a few brief days,
When father caught a strange and awful disease.
Qianlou looked North, and bowed to star Polaris,
'Take me instead!' he vowed from bended knees."

In another version of the story, Yu Qianlou offered up his own flesh in a medicinal broth to cure his father. That may be what Chikanobu is showing in the upper panel.

In the main panel, Chikanobu has illustrated a young woman offering up prayers before a temple.

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