Jul 7, 2014

Flautist from The Cave Door of Spring

Flautist from The Cave Door of Spring


Part of a set. See all set records

Totoya Hokkei 魚屋 北渓

(Japanese, 1780–1850)

Fifth from a pentaptych of woodblock prints; ink and color on paper

Sheet: 18.8 x 21.4 cm (7 3/8 x 8 7/16 in.)

Bequest of James Parmelee 1940.990.5



These elegant surimono prints come from a set of five images inspired by the legend of the Shinto Supreme Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. She was once so offended by her brother that she retreated into a cave, leaving the earth in darkness. Several attempts to lure her out with cocks crowing, music-making, and a goddess dancing failed, but a mirror hung from a nearby tree made Amaterasu curious, bringing her to the entrance of the cave. A stone was quickly placed at the entrance to block her way back into the cave, and light was restored to the world. Each print is set against a blue evening sky with embossed clouds enriched with gold, silver, and copper.

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