Skip to content


An image of Shôki the demon queller by Okumura MASANOBU


(Japan 1686 – 1764)

Shôki the demon queller
Place of origin
Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
circa 1705
Media category
Materials used
woodcut hand applied with urushi (lacquer) and washes of ink

55.7 x 24.2 cm

Signature & date
Signed c.l., in Japanese, ink [incised on block] "Hôgetsudô Okumura Bunkaku Masanobu kinzu [picture respectfully by Hôgetsudô Okumura Bunkaku Masanobuand]" [and artist's seal ,"Tanchôsai"]. Not dated.
Purchased 1993
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Shoki the demon queller is a good example of a Chinese import into the vast pantheon of Japanese gods and spirits. Legend has it that the Tang emperor Xuan Zong was healed from his illness by Shoki (Chinese name Zhongkui), who appeared in his dream. In the dream Shoki said that he had been an unsuccessful candidate of the official examinations, but found his talent in quelling demons. In Japan, the image of Shoki is most conspicuous on Boy's Day, when people pray for the wellbeing of their male offspring.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.198.

Bibliography (4)

AJIOKA Chiaki (Curator), Heroes and villains: from Japan's floating world, Sydney, May 2001, 7. 3.12

Verlie Just, Four Centuries of Ukiyo-e Prints, Brisbane, 1997. cat. no: 3

Roger S. Keyes, The Male Journey in Japanese Prints, 1989, 76 [illus.]. figure no. 109

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The art of Buddhism and other worlds', Sydney, 2003, 198 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (2)

Four Centuries of Ukiyo-e Prints, Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, 07 May 1997–27 Jul 1997

Heroes and Villains, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 May 2001–19 Aug 2001