Artist: Yōshū Chikanobu
Title: Undersea Ghost of Taira no Tomomori
Series: Competition of Day and Night on Eastern Brocade (Azuma nishiki chûya kurabe)
Date: 1886/10 (Meiji 19)
The Ghost of Taira-no-Tomomori (Taira no Tomomori no rei). We see a woman kneeling before the ghost of Taira no Tomomori, who is shown in front of a large anchor and surrounded by the “ghost crabs” (heikegani) who are said to bear the visages of the drowned Taira (Heike) soldiers. We see two ghost soldiers behind him.
We have translated the story as it is told in the cartouche, above right: “The Ghost of Taira-no-Tomomori (1152-1185) At the end of a series of battles between Minamoto and Taira clans, the Taira clan was overthrown. Taira-no-Tomomori and the young prince Antoku with the three treasures of the Taira clan sank into the sea of Dannoura, Nagato. Numerous woman divers were sent down in the sea of Akama area (Nagato) to find the three treasures. One diver came out of the water with the treasure sword and told that the ghost of Taira-no-Tomomori had just appeared to her as she had found the sword and asked her to hand it over to him. This story is however hard to believe.”
Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. With mica applied to areas of the water and on the rocks.
Dimensions: ôban 36.6 X 25 cm
Publisher: Kobayashi Tetsujiro
Sealed: Engraver’s seal: Hori Yû
Signature: Yôshû Chikanobu-hitsu with his toshidama seal in red