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Woodblock print - The Night Attack, Act XI
  • The Night Attack, Act XI
    Utagawa Kuniyoshi, born 1797 - died 1861
  • Enlarge image

The Night Attack, Act XI

  • Object:

    Woodblock print

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Utagawa Kuniyoshi, born 1797 - died 1861 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour woodblock print

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Chushingura, known in English as the 'The Treasury of Loyal Retainers' or 'The Vendetta of the 47 Masterless Samurai', is a famous 11-act play based on a true incident of 1703 in which the faithful retainers of the Lord of Ako beheaded a senior lord in revenge for the dishonour he inflicted on their master. Due to censorship laws, the names of the characters were changed and the play was re-set in the 14th century. In this final scene, which Kuniyoshi skilfully depicted using Western-style perspective and chiaruscuro ('light and dark'), the 47 retainers of Lord Enya Hangan, after years of waiting and planning, break into the mansion of their enemy, Ko no Morono. Finding Morono cowering in a charcoal shed, they drag him out and kill him, later taking his head to offer at Hangan’s tomb. The 47 retainers are subsequently ordered to take their own lives, but their vendetta has been successful and their loyalty and heroism live on.

Physical description

Buildings framed against a dark blue night sky, with tiny figures of men storming them.
Oban size. Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


ca. 1830 (made)


Utagawa Kuniyoshi, born 1797 - died 1861 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Colour woodblock print


Height: 243 cm, Width: 356 cm

Descriptive line

Japanese print; Kuniyoshi: 'The Night Attack, Act XI', from the series Scenes from the Drama Chushingura, ca.1830.




East Asia Collection

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