Yoshiiku: Princess Wakana and the Earth Spider

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Artist: Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833-1904)
Title: Princess Wakana and the Magical Earth Spider
Date: 1864
Series: Modern Parodies of Genji 今様擬源氏 空蝉 渡辺綱

Princess Wakana covertly summons the magical Earth Spider with a barely visible mudra. She forms the magical hand gesture from within her kimono, seeming to glance over her shoulder to make sure that no one is watching her. Princess Wakana was rescued by the Spirit of the Earth Spider and given the gift of spider magic during a clan feud in which she lost her family. Her story was told in the Tale of Shiranui (Shiranui Monogatari), an epic illustrated gôkan comic book that was published between 1849 and 1855. The tale revolves around the clash between the Kikuchi and Ôtomo clans. Princess Wakana is given the power of spider magic by the Spirit of the Earth Spider. The connection between this story and the 34th chapter of the Tale of Genji was no doubt a fun puzzle for the ukiyo-e buying public of the time to solve. This is a very early impression, with blindprinting in the cartouche and a layer of grey lead pigment applied to the kimono of the princess. 

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: ôban (36.3 x 24.5 cm)
Signed: Ikkeisai Yoshiiku ga
Publisher: Omiya Kyujiro (Kiyudo)