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Asian Art
Artist: Yashima Gakutei, Japanese, ca. 1786–ca. 1855

Liu Bei (Ryū Bi), from the series The Three Heroes of Shu, No. 1 (Shoku Sanketsu sono ichi)

ca. 1824

Surimono, shikishi-ban; polychrome woodblock print with gofun (ground shell) and silver and light gauffrage

sheet: 8 1/4 × 7 1/2 in. (21 × 19 cm)
Gift of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, B.A. 1970

八島岳亭 「蜀三傑其一 劉備」 江戸時代

Liu Bei (161–223 C.E.), known in Japan as Ryū Bi, is a hero from the fourteenth-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, or Sangoku shi. This print depicts his encounter with his beloved friends Guan Yu and Zhang Fei in a fully blooming peach garden, and their pledge to reestablish the glory of the mighty Han kingdom of China. The kyōka on the print, here written within a red-framed plaque, asks, If the peach flowers each had a mouth, would they respond to what is happening in the garden? As if to illustrate the poem, several bunches of white five-petalled blossoms cling tightly to the branches surrounding Liu Bei’s head. Each flower is outlined in silver pigment and has an embossed stamen.

Edo period (1615–1868)
Works on Paper - Prints

Joan B. Mirviss (dealer), New York; sold to Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, Koenigstein im Taunus, Germany, 2014 (on loan to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2017—2019); given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2019

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.