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An 1869 Print of a Ronin (Masterless Samurai) Being Attacked

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Ronin (Masterless Samurai) Fending off Arrows by Yoshitoshi Taiso, 1869

Woodcut Print of "Ronin (Masterless Samurai) Fending Off Arrows" - 1869

Artist- Yoshitoshi Taiso. No known restrictions due to age.

Ronin like the one depicted here fending off arrows with a naginata did not serve any particular daimyo, and often were seen (fairly or unfairly) as bandits or outlaws in feudal Japan. Despite that unsavory reputation, the famed "47 Ronin" are some of the greatest folk-heroes of Japanese history.

The artist, Yoshitoshi Taiso, was both extremely talented and a troubled soul. Although he struggled with alcoholism and mental illness, he left behind a body of amazingly vivid prints like this one, full of movement and color.

Read about the history of the samurai, and see photos of some of the famous feudal-era castles of Japan.

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