Skip to main content

The Ghost of Tamichi

The Ghost of Tamichi

Colour print from woodblocks with mica (kirazuri).
Ôban format.
Publisher: Funazu Chûjirô. 20/02/1880.
Keyes 334-40

From the series of 51 prints Mirror of Famous Commanders of Japan (Dai Nippon meishô kagami) published in 1876-82.

This was yet another series featuring historical and legendary Japanese heroes, redefining the nation’s identity for the Meiji Era. In contrast to prints of similar subjects from the previous decade, this series shows Yoshitoshi’s mature style flowering; the design is more personal and daring, the drawing is more refined and sophisticated (with the growing influence of Western drawing styles) and the colours more subtly chosen to evoke mood and emotion.

Some disliked the novel treatment of subject matter, but the series was immensely popular, even though it sold for 2.5 sen, half a sen more than the usual price for commercial prints at this date. Tamichi was a fourth-century warrior who was killed by a poisoned arrow. He is depicted rising from his grave to torment his enemies as a giant snake. The snake’s skin glistens with scattered mica.

Given by Israel Goldman, 2003


Themes associated

University of Cambridge Museums logo
Arts Council England Logo
Research England logo
The Technology Partnership logo
Brewin Dolphin Logo