Asian Art
Artist: Utagawa Kunisada II, Japanese, 1823–1880

Priestess Myōchin, from The Legend of the Eight Dog Warriors (Hakkenden)

12th month, 1852

Ukiyo-e: polychrome woodblock print

sheet: 13 3/4 × 9 5/8 in. (35 × 24.5 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Olsen, Mr. and Mrs. Laurens Hammond, and Mr. and Mrs. Knight Woolley, B.A. 1917

二代歌川國貞 「八犬傳 尼 妙椿」浮世絵錦絵 江戸時代

Priestess Myōchin, known for her fur-like hair, is one of the legendary characters featured in the Hakkenden (Legend of the Eight Dog Warriors), an epic novel by Kyokutei Bakin (1767–1848). At the beginning of the story, this wicked spirit assumes the guise of an eight-hundred-year-old female tanuki (raccoon-dog) and nurses the dog belonging to the lord of the Satomi clan. The spirit then curses the clan and takes the form of a priestess with extraordinary powers seen in this print. Utagawa Kunisada II’s design was masterfully executed by a woodcarver, as evident in the minute strands of hair and the thin bamboo blinds, each line having been skillfully worked into a solid block of wood. Cherry blossom petals are scattered to enhance the commotion.

On view
Edo period (1615–1868)
Works on Paper - Prints

Fred H. Olsen (1891–1986), and Florence Quittenton Olsen, Guilford, Conn., by 1967; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1967

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.