Taiso Yoshitoshii (1839 - 1892) A Mirror of Famous Generals of Japan: The Ghost of General Tamichi, 1880. Oban.
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This print illustrates the ghost of General Tamichi, a General under Nintoku, the sixteenth Emperor of Japan in the 4th century. Like Abe no Hirafu, he was charged with quelling the indigenous Ainu peoples of Northern Japan. Tamichi was killed in his campaign but overcoming death, he was re-animated (according to legend) in the form of a snake - believed to be the soul and spirit of the dead. The serpent Tamichi continued to attack the enemy and finally defeated them. It was said, “Although dead, Tamichi has revenged himself at last.” Yoshitoshi’s print depicts the battle between Tamichi and the rebels. The ghost of Tamichi emerges from the serpent body with his feet invisible; the orange flames signifying a supernatural occurrence. His hair points to the sky expressing his rage, and his hypnotic eyes stare at his enemies as if to freeze them. The serpent’s coils, unusually angular in form, reflect the warrior’s high level of emotion.
This is another fine print by Yoshitoshi - the snake being closely related to the diptych later in the exhibition. Fine impression, colour and condition. A copy of this print is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
Published by Funazo Chujiro.