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Title

A sick tanuki (Tanuki no senkimochi) (above) and Tanuki as the seven gods of good fortune (Tanuki no shichifukuijin) from an untitled series of tanuki (raccoon-dogs)

1843-1844

Artist

Utagawa Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Japan

1797 - 1861

  • Details

    Date
    1843-1844
    Media category
    Print
    Materials used
    woodblock print; ink and colour on paper
    Dimensions
    35.5 x 23.5 cm
    Credit
    Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2019
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    143.2019
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Utagawa Utagawa Kuniyoshi

    Works in the collection

    26

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  • About

    The tanuki, frequently translated into English as ‘raccoon-dog’, is a common comic yōkai character. The creatures, which are real animals, are found throughout Japan and have long been associated with the ability to shape-shift and cause mischief. In legend Tanuki are known for their gigantic scrotum which are used to humorous ends in many stories and depictions.

    Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s famous series of tanuki images emphasise this special feature. Released around 1834, this print shows at the top a sick tanuki being cared for and below a group of tanuki using their scrotum to style themselves as the seven gods of good fortune. The tanuki in the centre is portraying Fukurokuju, a god of wisdom, luck, wealth and happiness known for his large head.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

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

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