The Spirit of the Earth Spider, 1873 - Fantastic kabuki scene from the story of the earth spider, one of the most famous Japanese folktales. The great warrior Minamoto no Yorimitsu, known as Raiko, fell ill with a fever and dreamed of an earth spider preparing to cast a web over him. He struck at it with his sword and immediately recovered from his fever, chasing the earth spider to its lair and killing it with the aid of his retainers. In the center, an elegant courtesan appears as the spirit of the earth spider, carrying a fantastic umbrella with a spider web design on the underside. She looks back over her shoulder with a wild-eyed grin at a samurai holding a lantern aloft. The warrior wears red stage makeup, giving him a fierce appearance as he glares at the beauty. A blind masseur sits at lower left holding a cane, a blue cloth wrapped around his head. At right, Raiko, wearing a blue invalid's sash around his forehead, draws his sword as the samurai at right grimaces at him, waving a branch of red maple leaves. His long hair flows loosely over his shoulders, and he wears a gray kimono patterned with red flames. From left, the actors are Nakamura Nakazo, Nakamura Shikan as the blind masseur, Kawarazaki Sansho, Kawarazaki Gonjuro as Raiko, and Nakamura Shikan. A fascinating subject filled with large expressive figures. Wonderfully detailed with fine line work in the hair.
Artist - Kunichika (1835 - 1900)
Image Size - 13 7/8" x 28"
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Three attached panels, backed with paper. Vertical folds. A few wormholes, repaired. Slight toning, soiling, creasing, and ink bleeding. Please see photos for details.
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