Yoshitoshi 芳年: The Spirit of the Tengu and Botaro 田宮 坊太郎 宗親

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 芳年 (1839-1892)
Title: The Spirit of the Tengu and Botaro 田宮 坊太郎 宗親
Series: Twenty-four Accomplishments in Imperial Japan (Kôkoku nijûshikô)
Date: 1881 (this edition is 1895)

The spirit of the tengu is helping Tamiya Botaro to avenge his father’s death. He is seen hovering above the young man, gesturing with his feather-fan in encouragement, his supernatural (birdlike?) feet shod in pointed socks. The tengu were known for being exceptional swordsmen, and here Botaro has already unsheathed his long blade, holding it at the ready.  This is an example from the second (1895) Meiji edition, with the changes that include an updated signature, a light-colored cartouche, a lighter background and white clothing on Botaro.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Unbacked.
Dimensions: ôban (37 x 25 cm)
Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi
Literature: Keyes 438.7. 
Signature: Yoshitoshi