The Night Attack, Act XI thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

The Night Attack, Act XI

Woodblock Print
ca. 1830 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional Title(Secenes from the Drama) Chushingura (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Colour woodblock print
Brief Description
Japanese print; Kuniyoshi: 'The Night Attack, Act XI', from the series Scenes from the Drama Chushingura, ca.1830.
Physical Description
Buildings framed against a dark blue night sky, with tiny figures of men storming them.

Oban size. Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga
Dimensions
  • Height: 243cm
  • Width: 356cm
Style
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession Number
E.2590-1962

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record createdDecember 4, 2002
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