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Title

Kuzunoha: writing a farewell poem to her child

circa 1830


Artist

Utagawa Kunimune II/Kunimasa II

Japan

1792 - 1857


About

Kuzunoha is a magical white fox (kitsune) who has taken human form. When still a fox, she was trapped by a hunter and set free by a young man. She fell in love with her saviour, Abe no Yasuna, and transformed to be with him. When their son was small, he noticed his mother’s tufts of tail. As a result, she was obliged to return to life as a fox. Kuzunoha held the boy close and wrote her farewell poem with a brush in her mouth. It says, ‘If you love me, try to come and visit me’ (aishikuba tazune kite miyo). Her husband and son visit her in the forest where she appears to them in fox form but never returns to her human life.

Kuzunoha's upturned eyes and the unusual striped pattern within them indicate her kitsune heritage. The mounting of the painting similaly features a bamboo grove pattern in reference to the home of the kitsune.


Details


Place where the work was made

Japan


Date

circa 1830


Media category

Painting


Materials used

hanging scroll: ink and colours on silk


Dimensions

86 x 31.5 cm image


Credit

Purchased with funds donated by Tony Schlosser 2019


Location

Not on display


Accession number

108.2019


Artist information

Utagawa Kunimune II/Kunimasa II

Works in the collection

1


Place

Where the work was made
Japan

Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


  • Japan Supernatural, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Nov 2019–08 Mar 2020