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The text reads: “Originally from Yanling, [Ryōshin (Líng Zhèn)] served in the Eastern Capital and was skilled in archery and horsemanship and the top expert in cannonballs (pyrotechnics). [He prepared three kinds of fireballs], the first called ‘wind fireball,’ the second called ‘golden wheel fireball,’ and the third called ‘zimu (child and mother) fireball’ [a single large fireball that split into forty-nine lesser ones], each being greatly effective. First he fired them in succession, destroying the forces on Duck’s Bill Beach in the Liangshan Marsh, and then at those who had been thrown into the water, greatly punishing the enemy.”
Here Ryōshin is bombarding the Liangshan outlaws. He was later persuaded by them to leave the imperial army and to join their cause. His heroic stature and savage expression contrast nicely with the intricate, lacelike treatment of the cannon smoke.
Private collector, Seattle; (Jerry Vegder, Prints of Japan, Port Townsend, Washington); purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2012.
The actor Bandō Hikosaburō V in the role of Ashikaga Yoshikane
Utagawa Kunisada (Japanese, 1786-1864)
Untitled; given title: Higuchi Jirō Battling a Giant Serpent
Katsukawa Shuntei (Japanese, 1770-1820)