An image of Minamoto no Raikō (Yorimitsu) preparing to kill the earth spider (Minamoto no Raikō tsuchigumo o kiru zu)

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

(Japan 1839 – 1892)

Minamoto no Raikō (Yorimitsu) preparing to kill the earth spider (Minamoto no Raikō tsuchigumo o kiru zu), from the series New forms of thirty-six ghosts

Location
Not on display
Further information

Known as Raikō, Minamoto no Yorimitsu (948–1021) was a nobleman who worked with his associate Watanabe no Tsuna to rid Kyoto of its many demons. One night, a feverish Raikō believed he was being attacked by monsters and called for protection, but his attendants fell asleep and Raikō was attacked by a giant earth spider. His weak cries and a trail of blood attracted Watanabe who used an uprooted tree trunk to kill the enormous spider. Once the spider was vanquished, Raikō made a full recovery. Yoshitoshi’s image shows the delirious Raikō fumbling for his sword while the spider lures him into its web.

Place of origin
Japan
Period
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
Year
1892
Media
Print
Medium
woodblock print; ink and colour on paper
Dimensions
36.5 x 24.5 cm
Credit
Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2019
Accession number
5.2019.1