Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892), "Oniwaka and the Carp"
|Title||Oniwaka and the Carp|
|Medium||Original Japanese Woodblock Print|
|Series Title||Thirty-six Ghosts and Strange Apparitions|
|Reference No||Stevenson: plate #7. Catalog: “Beauty & Violence”: fig. 65.8; pg. 89.|
|Size||14 -1/4 x 9 -1/2 "|
|Condition||Fine, with fresh colors.|
Notes: As a child, the giant, Mushashibo Benkei was known as Oniwaka and sent to live at the temple of Hongu Daijin. While there, he discovers that the giant carp living at the foot of a waterfall had eaten his mother. Bent on revenge, Oniwaka kills the carp.
Ghosts stories were popular in Japan. People liked to gather by candlelight and tell scary tales. When a legend was finished, one candle was blown out and the next person began.
When Yoshitoshi created 100 ghosts’ stories, he used this tradition. Twenty-six selected designs and a title page were published in 1865. First editions sold out immediately, because Yoshitoshi had become a famous artist by the end of his career.
The new forms of 36 ghosts were Yoshitoshi’s last important series. The woodblocks were made after Japanese and Chinese stories. Many pupils assisted him during the complicated preparation. Circa twelve blocks were carved per design and separately used for each color or special effect. The prints were published from 1889 until 1892.