Stealing the Peaches of Immortality


Stealing the Peaches of Immortality
Print   (Part of the set: Akashi-ban Surimono)

Yanagawa Shigenobu


Print is Public Domain; Photography is:   Creative Commons License


In this print we see Dongfang Shuo (Tôbôsaku), a quick-witted official and court jester at the court of Han Emperor Wu, stealing the peaches of immortality. The myth goes that Xi Wangmu, the Queen Mother of the West, presented seven peaches of immortality to the Emperor Wu. During her visit she recognized Dongfang as a courtier of hers at Mount Kunlun and told the Emperor that Dongfang, an incarnation of the planet Jupiter, had stolen her peaches and had been banished to earth as a result. Shigenobu depicts Dongfang "in the act" in this print, grabbing the peaches while looking over his shoulder. Nunomezuri, a technique in which a piece of actual cloth is "printed" using a woodblock, and karazuri (blind-embossing), have been used in the print to bring out the texture of Dongfang's clothing and the pattern of the wall behind him.

The print is from the Kotobuki Goban no Uchi (寿五番ノ内, "A Set of Five Examples of Longevity") series of surimono prints by Yanagawa Shigenobu.

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