Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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The Earth Spider Conjures up Demons at the Mansion of Minamoto Raikō

  • Description

    This print depicts the tenth-century warrior Minamoto no Yorimitsu, also known as Raikō, who was famed for his legendary skill in the martial arts. This scene shows an episode in which Raikō, seen on the far right of the triptych, has been overpowered by the evil magic of the vicious earth spider and has fallen into a dreamlike trance. His four retainers are unaware of the demons. The print was also seen as a satire on the unpopular Tenpō reforms that were carried out in the 1840s. The sleeping Raikō could be interpreted as the shogun and the ghosts as the suffering victims of the reforms.

  • Details

    Associated place
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of creation)
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of publication)
    Edo Period (1600 - 1868)
    Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797 - 1861) (designer)
    Associated people
    Usui no Tadamitsu (active 11th century) (subject)
    Ibaya Senzaburō (active c. 1820s - c. 1870s) (publisher)
    Material and technique
    woodblock print, with bokashi (tonal gradation)
    mount 55.5 x 35 cm (height x width)
    sheet 34.8 x 24.4 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Presented by George Grigs, Miss Elizabeth Grigs, and Miss Susan Messer, in memory of Derick Grigs, 1971.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 23 April-22 September 2013, Manjū: Netsuke from the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Joyce Seaman, ed. (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2013), illus. p. 186 fig. 54

Past Exhibition

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    • currently in research collection

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