Trivium Art HistoryUtagawa Kuniyoshi

The Earth Spider Creating Monsters

The Earth Spider Creating Monsters, 1843 — Utagawa Kuniyoshi
36.2 cm74.7 cm

The Earth Spider Creating Monsters is an Edo Period, Wood Block Print Printmaking created by Utagawa Kuniyoshi in 1843. The image is in the Public Domain, and tagged Monsters, and Games.

The Tsuchigumo (土蜘蛛), or earth spider was one of the Japanese malicious spirits known as Yōkai (妖怪). Here, the earth spider torments the Fijiwara clan warrior Minamoto no Yorimitsu — filling his dreams with wicked beasts and monsters, while his retainers, unaware, play the Chinese strategy game of Go. In its day this was a controversial print — seen as a caricature of Shogun Ieyoshi. The original wood blocks for the print were burned, but Kuniyoshi replicated the blocks and continued to publish the prints. Fight the power Kuniyoshi.

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