An image of The tongue-cut sparrow

Utagawa Yoshimori

(1830 – 1884)

The tongue-cut sparrow

Not on display
Further information

In Utagawa Yoshimori’s 1864 triptych The tongue-cut sparrow (Shitakiri suzume), an old woman can be seen on the right lifting the lid from a basket and on the left, on the ground beside the open basket. She had tricked a family of sparrows into giving her the basket but had been unable to resist lifting the lid before arriving home. The punishment for her greed was to be confronted by a horde of monsters. Spilling across all three sheets of the print, the monsters are powerfully drawn in graphic cartoon-style black and white. The work is a strong example of early manga in Japanese art. Although he was admired during his lifetime, little is known about Yoshimori who, like Yoshitoshi, was a student of Kuniyoshi and took on the final character of his master’s name as the beginning of his own.

woodblock print; ink and colour on paper
36.7 x 75.0 cm
Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund
Accession number