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The Phantom Which Lives in the Sea of Japan II

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Asahi Mio, Japanese, b. 1957
The Phantom Which Lives in the Sea of Japan II, 1999
Etching ink on paper
15 11/16 x 19 11/16 in. (39.88 x 50.04 cm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Drypoint and Aquatint
Period: Heisei (Japan, 1989- 2019)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2022.1.37

Object Description
"Suishoki". The English title is "The Phantom Which Lives In The Sea of Japan 11". A mythical woman is riding on an imaginary, fierce sea creature, vaguely reminiscent of a narwhal. She stretches her right arm forward to point their direction, holding a billowing ribbon in the wind. Steep ocean swells do not seem to daunt them. The composition is dominated by diagonals: the woman's long hair; her outstretched arm; the ribbon; the fish; the ocean waves all emphasize the diagonal. The black background of the sky is highly stylized with tendrils of vines and flowers. The artist comments on her works: "I was always asked if my works were based on some kinds of myths or stories. Unfortunately, they are all from my imagination. The strange creatures, humanoids, plants ... all of them do not exist in the real world. These 'beings', which I often draw, do not have any hierarchy in their existence. They are basically friends. The Fat-Lady represents 'wholesomeness', 'strength, power', 'unbreakable will'."

Asahi Mio creates a fantasy-filled world and tells her own myths and folklore featuring female figures and mythical creatures such as dragons, sea monsters, phoenixes, and other creatures. These imaginative figures come alive in the atmospheric elements: swirling wind; billowing clouds; fierce fire; and water torrents.

Asahi Mio's main color scheme is black or orange-red together with off-white. She adds only a few colorful highlights, sometimes combined with gold and silver metallic pigments. This limited palette accentuates the meticulously rendered figures which populate her well-defined compositions with their distinctly recognizable fine-lined style.

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