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Eight Views [of Ômi]: Returning Sails

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Eight Views [of Ômi]: Returning Sails, 1846, color woodblock print (nishiki-e); triptych, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by The Asian Art Council, public domain, 2012.61.1a-c

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Eight Views [of Ômi]: Returning Sails


Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Japanese, 1797-1861)

Related People

publisher: Iseya Ichi'emon (Japanese, active ca. 1823-1864)




color woodblock print (nishiki-e); triptych

Catalogue Raisonné

Kuniyoshi Project T180

Dimensions (H x W x D)

image: 13 13/16 in x 9 5/8 in; sheet: 13 13/16 in x 9 5/8 in

Inscriptions & Markings

artist's seal: [Yoshi kiri seal], intaglio on red ground, lower right (right and center prints); lower left (left print)

signature: 一勇斎国芳画, printed in black ink in gourd-shaped cartouche on red ground, lower right (right and center prints); lower left (left print)

publisher's mark: 版元 伊勢市, right and center sheets: printed in black ink on reserve white ground; left sheet: black ink on blue ground, lower right (left sheet); lower left (right and center sheet)

censor's mark: 村田, lower right (right and center prints); lower left (left print)

Collection Area

Asian Art; Graphic Arts



Japanese Traditional Prints

Object Type

relief print



Credit Line

Museum Purchase: Funds provided by The Asian Art Council

Accession Number



public domain


Japanese woodblock prints



relief printing

relief prints



This triptych is one of a series in which Kuniyoshi illustrates episodes from Japanese history, placing them in scenic spots at Lake Biwa. The titles of the prints are taken from poems, Eight Views of Biwa, which are in turn based on an older series of Chinese poems.

Two great warrior clans, the Taira and the Minamoto, vied for power in the third quarter of the twelfth century, engulfing much of the country in civil war. Kuniyoshi illustrates an episode from than era. The Minamoto warrior Koman, who had been entrusted with the white banner of the Minamoto armies, plunged into Lake Biwa in an effort to escape pursuit. By chance, he was discovered by a Taira general who was on the lake for a pleasure excursion. Koman refused to be rescued, so the Taira captain cut off his arm to capture the banner.

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