Artist: Yoshikazu Utagawa (act. 1850–1870)
Title: Minamotono Yorimitsu Encounters Monsters in the Mountains
Publisher: Tsujiokaya Bunsuke
Date: c. 1847-1852
Dimensions: (L) 24.8 x 36.9 (C) 24.7 x 36.8 (R) 24.8 x 37 cm
A great battle is happening in the forest. Grotesquely coiling down a pine tree, a giant snake has met its match with a black bear. The muscular animal manages to halt the snake’s large jaw and sharp fangs, violently stretching them back until bloods pours forth. The onlookers are Minamoto no Yorimitsu along with his legendary retainers, the Four Guardian Kings. Their pursuit for the infamous bandit, Hakamadare Yasusuke, has led them to the depths of this mountain forest. Practised in the arcane arts, the villain conjures up this monstrous spectacle to distract his pursuers. Yorimitsu, a warrior noted for his military might and demon slaying, must now strategise how best to bypass this surreal encounter before him.