White fox (picnic) I
Okamoto draws on traditional Japanese art in both his subject matter and style. This print is one of a series based on tales that appear in both folklore and Kyogen theatre, of foxes assuming the shape of beautiful women to entertain and seduce travellers.
In Japanese folklore there are many examples of animals transforming themselves into human form. Usually the fox is seen as an evil creature, thought to be possessed of spiritual power and capable of bewitching people. There are many folktales in which a fox marries a man by assuming the shape of a woman.
The card game spread out before the young girls is called 'hanafuda', a gambling game comprised of twelve 4-card suits, four for each month of the year, each decorated with seasonal flowers corresponding to a particular month of the year. The game is a favourite at New Year's festivities.
The use of bright colours, stylized waves and clouds reflects Okamoto's indebtedness to indigenous design traditions. He likes to use goldleaf because it changes expression as time passes and the light on it varies.
Okamoto was born in Hokkaido, educated at Nihon University and now resides in Kanagawa.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 65.
Kitsune jodô (I)
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
47.5 x 69.5 cm image; 53.5 x 74.5 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pencil "Y. Okamoto". Not dated.
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Urban Bonsai:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992
- National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992
- Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993
- Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Moree Plains Gallery, Moree 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 65, 76 (colour illus.). cat.no. 44