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Maker(s):Ogata Gekko
Culture:Japanese (1859-1920)
Title:Kyubi no Kitsune [A Fox with Nine Tails]
Date Made:1899
Materials:Woodblock print (woodcut); nishiki-e, ink and colors on paper
Place Made:Asia; Japan
Measurements:Sheet: 14 1/2 in x 9 15/16 in; 36.8 cm x 25.2 cm; Image: 12 7/8 in x 8 1/2 in; 32.7 cm x 21.6 cm
Narrative Inscription:  SIGNATURE: recto. lwr. l. (black ink): [Japanese character, Gekko zuihitsu]; SIGNATURE: recto, lwr. l. (black ink): [Japanese character, Gekko]; TITLE: recto. lwr. l. (black ink): [Japanese character, Kyubi no kitsune]; SEAL: recto. lwr. l. (red ink): [Japanese, Ichigaku ichiei].
Accession Number:  MH 1949.62.Q.RII
Credit Line:Purchase with the Nancy Everett Dwight Fund
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

A vertical print showing a nine-tailed fox in elaborate robes with a bright-red belt flying through the air. Its nine tails are visible through the sheer kimono it wears. In Chinese and Japanese legend, the fox is believed to be a felicitous, if not at times ominous, animal that has the power to bewitch people. Foxes are long-lived and sometimes assume the form of human beings. When a thousand years old, they become either white or golden, grow nine tails and have great magical powers. This print may refer to the story of Tamamo no mae ('Lady Tangleweed") the favorite concubine of Emperor Toba (1108-1128). When the court astrologer, Abe no Seimei, revealed that she was a fox-witch and the cause of the Emperor's illness, she transformed herself into a nine-tailed fox and flew away.

animals; foxes; legends

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