Yoshitsuya Utagawa, Kintaro, Giant Snake


Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Yoshitsuya Utagawa (1822-1866)
Title: The Picture of Kintaro
Publisher: Ebiya Rinnosuke
Date: 1847-1852
Dimensions: 24.7 x 36.9 cm
Condition: Some pinholes. Restored wormhole. Hole by top right cartouche. Residue tape from previous mounting.

There are not few tales of monstrous snakes in Japanese folklore. From the nation's origin tale to popular legend, the snake often appears as a fearsome and powerful creature. Fighting a snake was a test of one's strength. A story from the Konjaku Monogatarishu, a collection of tales compiled in the late Heian period (794–1185), tells of a sumo wrestler with the strength of one hundred men able to subdue a giant serpent. This scale of strength is similarly attributed to Kintaro, a legendary boy raised in the mountain forests often attributed to the historical figure Sakata no Kintoki. Kintaro's struggle with the snake upturns the forest floor, with leaves swirling around them in their dynamic wrestling match. The mighty boy obstructs the frightening jaws of the snake with his large axe, appearing confidant in his victory.

More Information
Print FormatOban (Vertical)
SubjectSamurai & Male, Animals & Birds
Size24.7 x 36.9 cm
publisherEbiya Rinnosuke:1832-1895