Item from the Mokuhankan Flea Market

Fujiwara Hidesato Vanquishing the Giant Centipede

Size: 36.5cm by 24.8cm (14.37 in by 9.76 in) | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [L] ?

Designer: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Era: Meiji | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: ¥ 40,000$ 365.00£ 255.00€ 300.00 [Item has been sold]

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Description: Fujiwara Hidesato was a nobleman, samurai army commander, and archery master who lived in the middle of the Heian period (794-1185). He was later referred to as Tawara Touta, and became a character in an otogi-zoshi story.

The story depicted in this print is set during the reign of Emperor Suzaku, when a large snake lay on Kara Bridge in Seta preventing people from crossing. Only Tawara Touta, the brave samurai, dared to stamp on the snake and cross the bridge. The night following his courageous act, a beautiful girl appeared in front of him, saying, "I am the daughter of the dragon king who lives in Seta River. I transformed into a snake so I could find a brave person like you. We would be grateful if you could help us exterminate the giant centipede living in Lake Biwa near Mikami Mountain”.

Touta went to Mt. Mikami to exterminate the monster centipede, but it was seven and a half times as large as the mountain, and his arrows merely bounced off its back. Touta spat on the tip of the last arrow and said the magic words namuhachimandaibosatsu. This last arrow struck the monster right in the forehead, killing it.

In return for his brave act, the daughter of the dragon king gave Touta an endless roll of silk, an inexhaustible supply of rice, and a pot of food which never went empty. A few days later, the king dragon’s daughter invited him to the palace under Lake Biwa to throw him a feast. The dragon king gave him gold armour, a sword, and a red bronze temple bell as a reward.

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