Strange Tales from Japan and China: Monster Fox and Ghost
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Strange Tales from Japan and China: Monster Fox and Ghost, 1880
Ink and colors on paper
14 3/16 x 9 3/16 in. (36 x 23 cm)
Two uncut chuban-sized prints on one sheet.
The work bears the artist's signature: "Yoshitoshi" It is dated, 1880
Colored ink woodblock on paper
Meiji period Japanese color woodblock print with two images. The top depicts the monster fox with golden hair, white face, and nine tails as it attempts to drink the blood of the king.
Foxes, or kitsune, are mysterious, magical creatures with powers many times greater than those of badgers. Sometimes well disposed to men, they are more often malicious and dangerous. A fox is guardian of the rice crop and messenger of Inari, the god of harvests. At the age of a hundred a fox's spirit can possess human beings, causing insanity, and can assume human form at will. At the age of a thousand it grows nine tails, turns golden, and attains great wisdom.
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