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Chikanobu Yoshu, Japanese, (1838–1912)
Juxtaposed Pictures of 24 Paragons of Filial Piety: No. 2, Zeng Shen (Soshin), 1890
Ink on Paper
13 3/8 in. x 8 15/16 in. (33.97 cm x 22.7 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: 2001.2.7

Alternate Title: Nijushi ko mitate e- awase: No. 2, Soshin

Fine impression.

There is a banner in the upper right, and a stamp in the lower left. Text runs down the left border.

Color woodblock print; ink on paper; oban tat-e.

Object Description
Meiji period color woodblock print, depicting a bijin tying up her sandal laces as she and another girl, carrying a pile of kindling, are preparing to walk home. Chikanobu uses one of the Chinese stories from the Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety as inspiration for this print. A scene from the Chinese tale is illlustrated in the upper panel.

In this example of filial peity, Zeng Shen lives with his widowed mother and the two of them must work very hard to make ends meet. Everyday, Zeng Shen went into the mountains to gather firewood. One day when he was gone, a guest arrived at his house after having traveled a long distance. With no means of entertaining this guest, Zeng Shen's mother bit her finger in vexation, drawing blood. As she did this, Zeng Shen felt a stinging sensation in his heart, and suspecting that his mother needed him, shouldered his kindling and hurried home. His mother praised him as a truly dutiful child for being able to discern her thoughts from afar.

A verse in his honor reads,
"His mother bit her finger, her son's heart felt the pain.
He bundled up the firewood and ran home just in time.
What age has ever witnessed deeper ties of filial love
Than the depth shared between this mother and her son?"

See also: 98.4.14

Hasegawa Hisaharu.

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