"Yōkō", 1844-1846

Not on Viewexpand_more

Paragons of filial piety have been an enduring theme in Chinese art and literature since the time of the famous sage Confucius (551–479 b.c.), whose teachings stressed the importance of absolute devotion to one’s parents and elders. Japan’s Tokugawa leaders frequently commissioned painters to render the filial subjects, thereby helping to establish this tradition in Japan. Ukiyo-e artists also picked up the theme, and Utagawa Kuniyoshi featured the twenty-four paragons on several occasions.

The subject here is the story of Yōkō (Yang Xiang, in Chinese) and his father. These two were attacked by a fierce tiger in the mountains. Without thinking of his own safety, Yōkō shielded his father with his own body while demanding that the tiger devour him rather than his father. Impressed with the youth’s bravery, the tiger retreated into the forest, sparing both father and son.

Artist Life
1798 - 1861
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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