We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting

Title

The tongue-cut sparrow (Shitakiri suzume)

1864

Artist

Utagawa Yoshimori

Japan

1830 – 1884

Alternate image of The tongue-cut sparrow (Shitakiri suzume) by Utagawa Yoshimori
Alternate image of The tongue-cut sparrow (Shitakiri suzume) by Utagawa Yoshimori
Alternate image of The tongue-cut sparrow (Shitakiri suzume) by Utagawa Yoshimori
  • Details

    Date
    1864
    Media category
    Print
    Materials used
    woodblock print; ink and colour on paper
    Dimensions
    triptych; 36.7 x 75.0 cm
    Credit
    Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    144.2019
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Utagawa Yoshimori

    Works in the collection

    1

    Share
  • About

    Utagawa Yoshimori depicts the tale of a man who befriends a sparrow. His wife is cruel to the bird, cutting out its tongue when it eats her rice paste. The injured sparrow flees but is found and cared for by the man. The bird’s grateful family offer the man a gift, either a small, light basket or a large, heavy one. The man chooses the smaller basket and finds it full of silks and treasure. When he returns, his wife derides him for choosing the smaller gift and demands the heavy basket. She can be seen on the ground beside the open basket as monstrous yōkai escape from it – punishment for her nastiness and greed.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

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