The Hell Courtesan
(Shiki soku zeku)
kuchi-e (frontispiece) illustration vol. 9, no. 6 Bungei Kurabu (popular literary magazine); with artist's signature Mosai and seal Eisen, 1903
oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 9 3/8 in., 36.6 by 23.7 cm
This portrait of Jigoku Dayu ('The Hell Courtesan') emanating from mist drifting above a human skull accompanied the novel 'Shiki Soku Ze-ku' serialized in the Bungei Kurabu literary magazine in 1903. The title of the story, 'Shiki Soku Ze-ku,' is based on a Zen Buddhist sutra, the meaning of which can be translated as 'Form is Emptiness' or 'Everything Visible is Empty.'
Nanako Yamada, Mokuhan Kuchi-e (Survey of Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints), 2006, p. 312
(inv. no. C-3385)
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site last updated
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Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
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