KORYUSAI  (w c 1764-90)
Minogame Turtle Dreaming of Jo and Uba in Horai
Signed:  Koryusai zue      
c. mid-late 1770s
Hashira-e

Turtles, cranes, and pines are all symbols of longevity, and all are depicted in this hashira-e (pillar print). It depicts a minogame (raincoat) turtle, which has a “coat and tail” of seaweed and was believed to live for more than 10,000 years. The turtle is dreaming of Horai, the island of immortals. Jo and Uba, the spirits of the Takasago pine, which grows on Horai, are raking pine needles while a crane flying overhead. Jo and Uba are invoked at weddings in hopes that the newlyweds will have a long, happy life together. 

Koryusai was the master of this long narrow size, and this is a very effective use of it (including the “dream”device). Not illustrated in Pins fairly comprehensive book on the pillar print, or listed in Hockley, this rare print is not otherwise known to us.   

 

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