Kunichika Toyohara, Mount Oyama Waterfall, Tattoo Design

japanese art authenticityAuthenticity Guaranteed

Original Japanese woodblock print.

Artist: Kunichika Toyohara (1835-1900)
Title: Oyama Mairi
Publisher: Kobayashi Tetsujiro
Date: 1882
Condition report: Backed, lightly yellowed, vertical creases on the edges, some stains on the right panel.
Size: (L)35.5 x 24.7 (C)35.5 x 24.7 (R)35.5 x 24.8 cm

Oyama-dera is dedicated to Fudo Myoo and houses a rare image of the deity that dates back to the 13th century. The founder of the mountain as a religious centre is said to be monk Roben who encountered a dragon one day during his meditation. The dragon told the monk that the waterfalls on Oyama had the power to purify all beings and bring enlightenment and protection to them. Oyama thus became a preferred place for pilgrimage for firemen given the mountain’s association with water and fire. They saw the pilgrimage as a ritual of purification and a communion with the spirits. The dragons and koi fish designs on their skin would feel in their element and be blessed by the power of the mountain.


Oyama attracted a large number of visitors from Edo, especially merchants, artisans and fishermen who believed in the healing powers of Fudo Myoo and the dragon deity’s ability to offer protection from fire. The pilgrims going to Oyama would carry a large wooden sword and dedicate it to the shrine.
Due to the popularity of the pilgrimage and its protective qualities, woodblock prints with heroes under a waterfall are common, more so with actors and other tattooed characters displaying the designs on their skin.

More Information
Print Format Triptych
Artist Name Kunichika Toyohara
Title Oyama Mairi
Subject Beauty & Female, Samurai & Male, Kabuki, Tattoo
Dimensions (L)35.5 x 24.7 (C)35.5 x 24.7 (R)35.5 x 24.8 cm
Condition Report Backed, lightly yellowed, vertical creases on the edges, some stains on the right panel.