Kawanabe Kyosai 河鍋 暁斎: Shoki Riding a Tiger and Chasing Demons (Sold)

  • Sold.

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai 河鍋 暁斎
Title: May, the Fifth Month, from the series Of the Twelve Months (Junikagetu no uchi)

Shoki, the fierce Buddhist demon queller, rides a tiger as he chases terrified demons with his long sword of wisdom. He and the tiger share an extremely fierce mien, with bulging eyes and bared teeth. Images of Shoki were considered auspicious and protective, and were displayed especially on Boys’ Day, which falls on the 5th month of May. Kyosai received many commissions for images of Shoki, both paintings and prints, and his works of this subject are justifiably celebrated. This is one of Kyosai’s best and most famous print designs. Demons personified negativity, and were thought to bring disease and misfortune, so this work is particularly welcome in these pandemic times. The female demon at left is in such a hurry to escape that she carries her demon baby upside-down.  Titled “May, the Fifth Month,” (the month also written in Romaji), from a series that never continued with subsequent designs. 

Date: 1887
Condition: Excellent impression and color. Very good condition. Minor trimming at bottom.
Dimensions:  35.7 x 77.1 cm
Publisher:  Fukado Komajiro
Signature: Shojo Kyosai ga
LiteratureSee the Art Institute of Chicago. See “This is Kyosai!” (2017), page 149, number 121. “Comic Genius: Kawanabe Kyosai,” 1996, no. 79, page 160. See also “Demon of Painting: The Art of Kawanabe Kyosai”, page 50, number 15.