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UTAGAWA school
The nine-tailed fox in the guise of Tamamo-no-mae

Preparatory brush drawing (shita-e) for a
woodblock print, in sumi om thin paper.

Date:                  c. mid-19th century
Size of sheet:     oban tate-e (30.5 x 26 cms / c. 12" x 10")

Condition:  Fine.

ref. no.: # 712789
- Sold -
This drawing (shita-e) for a woodblock print depicts TAMAMO-NO-MAE (1108 - 1123), a court lady who won the emperor's affections, who - in reality - was an evil fox that had temporarily transformed itself into human form. According to popular legend, to win the heart of the emperor and eventually take over the throne, the fox spirit transformed itself into Tamamo-no-mae, an entrancingly beautiful and sagacious court lady. The emperor was completely captivated and wanted to make her his chief consort. Soon, however, he began to feel ill. No one could identify the cause until ABE NO YASUCHIKA, a court astrologer, revealed that the monarch was stricken by a curse placed on him by the fox.

For a spectacular, unusual, and extremely rare cartoon-like depcition of the story and further details, see the finished preparatory drawing (hanshita-e) for a woodblock print triptych by Utagawa YOSHITORA (active 1850-80), shown in this gallery section, as well: , which illustrates the the demon's fatal destiny, or:   ENTER the print description directly from here.

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