108 Heroes of the Suikoden, One by One

(Suikoden g˘ketsu hyaku-bachi-nin no hitori, 水滸傳濠傑百八人之個)

Publisher: Yamazaki Kimbei

1830 (reissued in 1842)

This series of prints is based on stories from the semi-historical Chinese novel, Suikoden (Shuihu zhuan in Chinese).á It tells of the adventures of a band of 108 rebels who sought refuge in the margins of Liangshan Marsh.á These rebel warriors sought to protect the poor and downtrodden, very much like Robin Hoodĺs band.á Some of the designs in this series are smaller versions of prints in Kuniyoshiĺs ôgreatö Suikoden series.á The prints in this series are each about 10 by 7 inches (25 by 18 centimeters), a size known as chűban.

 

Japanese name: Gy˘ja Bush˘ of Seikaken

Chinese name: Wu Song

Scene: Gy˘ja Bush˘, brown-skinned and half-naked, killing a tiger with his bare hands at Keiy˘ Hill

Robinson: S2a.1

 

 

Japanese name: Chűsenko Teitokuson (中箭虎丁得孫)

Chinese name: Ding Desun (Arrow-shot Tiger Ding Desun)

Scene: The hero fighting off a giant poisonous snake

Robinson: S2a.2

 

 

Japanese name: Hakujisso Hakush˘ (白日鼠白勝)

Chinese name: Bai Sheng (Daylight Rat Bai Sheng)

Scene: Hakujisso Hakush˘, half-naked, lifting a box of snakes above a foe with whom he is struggling.

Robinson: S2a.3

 

 

Japanese name: Kwatsuyenra Gensh˘shichi (活閽羅阮小七)

Chinese name: Ruan Xiaoqi (Living King Yama Ruan Xiaoqi)

Scene: The hero in a boat using a tiger skin as a shield against flying arrows

Robinson: S2a.7

 

 

Japanese name: Ry˘t˘ja Kaichin (両頭蛇解珍)

Chinese name: Xie Zhen (Double Headed Snake Xie Zhen)

Scene: The hero binding a fallen enemy general with a corded missile

Robinson: S2a.8

 

 

Japanese name: Tammeijir˘ (or Tanmeijir˘) Gensh˘go

Chinese name: Du Qian

Scene: Tammeijir˘ Gensh˘go, bare-chested, kneels on a fallen foe, a drawn sword in his hand

Robinson: S2a.12

 

 

These prints closely resemble the above series and share the same series title.á They were published without a decorative border; measure about 7.5 by 5 inches (19 by 13 centimeters); date from about 1842; and are not mentioned in Robinson.

 

Japanese name: Hy˘shit˘ Rinchű

Chinese name: Lin Chong

Scene: Hy˘shit˘ Rinchű about to thrust his sword into a kneeling dark-skinned foe in the snow

 

 

Japanese name: Kokusempű Riki (called Ritetsu Gyu)

Chinese name: Li Kui

Scene: Kokusempű Riki by a waterfall with a sword in hand fighting three tigers

 

Japanese name: Sekibakki Ryűt˘

Chinese name: Liu Tang

Scene: Sekibakki Ryűt˘ holding a sword in his right horizontally over his head

 

 

Japanese name: S˘shiko Rai˘

Chinese name: Lei Heng

Scene: S˘shiko Rai˘ standing by a river with rapids holding his sword in front of him with both hands

 

The above two prints may be joined to form a diptych.á In ukiyo-e, it is not unusual to encounter a series of single-sheet prints, only a few of which form larger compositions when joined.á If the prints are well designed, each panel is artistically pleasing in isolation.á

 

Japanese name: R˘rihakuch˘ Ch˘jun (浪裡白跳張順) Chinese name: Zhang Shun (White Streak in the Waves Zhang Shun)

Scene: R˘rihakuch˘ Ch˘jun with a sword between his teeth wrenches apart the bars of a water gate

 

ôRobinsonö refers to listing in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by Basil William Robinson (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1982) and its privately published supplement.

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