Title: Tamatori’s Escape from Ryujin and His Sea Creatures
Artist & Signature: Kuniyoshi, Utagawa ( 1797-1861)
Publisher: Originally Published c.1843 by Iba-ya Kyubei, this is a Showa Era Strike from Recarved woodblocks
Size: 14.25″ x 10.75″ Oban
Condition: Very Good, some foxing as shown, otherwise fine, solid key lines, nice surface texture, tight registration, excellent color, deep saturated color and bleed thru to verso.
Commnents: An absolutely fantastic woodblock print one of Kuniyoshi’s masterpieces. This print is very rare. An original is impossible to find outside of a museum and even reprints such as these are extremely rare.
The Legend of Princess Tamatori (Tamatorihime), or Ama, developed around the historical figure Fujiwara no Kamatari (614-649), who was the founder of the powerful Fujiwara clan. Upon Kamatari’s death, the Tang Dynasty emperor, who had received Kamatari’s beautiful daughter as a consort, sent three priceless treasures to Japan in order to comfort his grieving lover by honoring her father. One of these treasures, a pearl, was stolen by the dragon king in a storm on its way to Japan in the inlet of Fusazaki. Kamatari’s son Fujiwara no Fuhito (659-720) went in search of the pearl to the isolated area where he met and married a beautiful pearl diver named Ama, who bore him a son. Ama, full of love for their son, vowed to help recover the stolen pearl. After many failed attempts, Ama was finally successful when the dragon and grotesque creatures guarding it were lulled to sleep by music. Upon reclaiming the treasure, she came under pursuit by the awakened sea creatures. She cuts open her breast to place the pearl in for safekeeping the resulting blood flow clouds the water and aids in her escape. She died from the resulting wound but is revered for her selfless act of sacrifice for her husband Fuhito and their son.
Choose from Unframed Original or Unframed Museum Giclee