Kunisada - Goblin Spider

Kunisada - Goblin Spider

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Utagawa Toyokuni III (Kunisada I).

An oban tate-e diptych of the kabuki play Shiranui monogatari (The Tale of Shiranui), depicting Princess Wakana using the magic of the spider scroll to conjure a giant spider to assist her in her fight with her enemy. Staged at the Morita-za Theatre in the 2nd month of 1864.  甲子曽我大国柱」若菜姫/沢村田之助 他 二枚続 裏打

From left: the Kabuki actors Nakamura Shikan IV playing the role of Shūsaku, and Sawamura Tanosuke III in the role of Wakana-hime.

(左から: 四代目中村芝翫の秋作と三代目沢村田之助の若菜姫・元治元年二月、守田座、「甲子曽我大国柱」)

In very ancient books it is said  there used to be many goblin-spiders in Japan. Some folks declare there are still some goblin-spiders. During the daytime they look just like common spiders; but very late at night, when everybody is asleep, and there is no sound, they become very big, and do awful things. Goblin-spiders are supposed also to have the magical power of taking human shape, so as to deceive people.

Condition: Faded with age, margins as shown.

Date: 1864

Publisher’s Mark: ‘Etsu-ka’ = Echizen-ya Kajū (「越嘉」 = 越前屋嘉十)