YOUNG GIRL, CRABS AND SNAKE MAN (Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Hiroshige II)

N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Year: 1858
Condition: signs of aging
Size: 24 x 33,5 cm



A young girl from the village of Kabata (綺田村), in the Yamashiro Province (山城国), one day saved hundreds of crabs that had been captured to be eaten. This incident made her father very angry and the latter then offered her to a snake, which we see here anthropomorphized as a young samurai. When the girl learned the news, she sat in front of the family altar and began to recite sutras and was finally saved by the crabs, which attacked en masse and killed the snake man.

The precious woodblock print presented here, entitled “The Mimuroto Temple in Yamashiro Province” (山城 三室戸寺), depicts the tenth station on the Saigoku Junrei (西国巡礼) pilgrimage route and is taken from the series “Miracles of Kannon” (観音霊験記). The lower part is signed by the artist Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞), the upper pane, instead, by Utagawa Hiroshige II (二代目歌川広重).

The work, made in 1858 by the publisher Yamadaya Shojiro (山田屋庄次郎) and by the engraver Yokokawa Takejiro (横川竹二郎), shows obvious signs of aging, imperfections on the margins and small signs of worming.