Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Smallpox Demons, New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts

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Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: 9. Tametomo's Ferocity Drives Away the Smallpox Demons
Series Title: New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts
Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi
Date: 1892
Size: 24.4 x 35.4 cm
Condition: Slightly trimmed, light creases and backed vertical fold on the left-hand side, minor spots, light soiling on the right-hand side.

 

Yoshitoshi's last woodblock series, 'New Forms of Thirty-Six Ghosts', draws on an array of supernatural tales from both China and Japan. The images depict the weird, wonderful, and sinister ghost stories that were widely told among the Japanese population. The eeriness of the series is playfully rendered by the mock-worm eaten border around each print. Interestingly, Yoshitoshi's Thirty-Six Ghosts was produced at a time when the recently established Meiji government actively discouraged anything that contradicted Western science and rationality, leading some critics to regard this series as a criticism of the government's new ideology. These works show that Yoshitoshi still found great inspiration from the rural folk tales that were prevalent throughout Japan's history.

 

Minamoto no Tametomo is known to have been an extremely strong, yet also violent youth. Highly skilled in archery, he often became involved in arguments, one of which ended with his exile to one of the Kyushu islands. In the late-Edo period, the novelist Bakin included an episode in which Tametomo becomes the island's ruler by defeating the demons that cause smallpox and becoming a hero to the island inhabitants. Yoshitoshi portrays Tametomo standing proudly and gripping a massive bow. His armour is decorated with a lion, the warrior's emblem.

More Information
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title 9. Tametomo's Ferocity Drives Away the Smallpox Demons
Subject Samurai & Male, Spirits & Religion
Condition Report Slightly trimmed, light creases and backed vertical fold on the left-hand side, minor spots, light soiling on the right-hand side.
Dimensions 24.4 x 35.4 cm
Series New Forms of Thirty-six Ghosts