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Tsuchigumo@“y’wå
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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Lit. giant ground spider. A demon in popular literature and art known for its battle with the early 11c warrior Minamoto no Raikou Œ¹—ŠŒõ (also read Yorimitsu, the hero of the Ooeyama onitaiji ‘å]ŽR‹S‘ÞŽ¡ story). The fight between Raikou and the Spider was recounted with illustrations in the 14c handscroll Tsuchigumo no soushi “y’w偑Ž† (Tokyo National Museum), but most Edo period paintings of the theme depict popular accounts taken from various other sources such as HEIKE MONOGATARI •½‰Æ•¨Œê (The Tale of The Heike) as well as the *nou ”\ play TSUCHIGUMO. The basic story begins with the illness of Raikou. A priest is sent to pray for him, but the priest is actually the spider in disguise. It soon reveals itself and entangles Raikou in its web. Raikou slashes his way free but the spider escapes during the struggle. Raikou's four retainers, usually known as the "Four Guardian Kings" *shitennou Žl“V‰¤, eventually find the spider and kill it with Raiko's famous sword which they rename Kumokirimaru ’wåØŠÛ (Spider-cutter). The theme was illustrated by several *ukiyo-e •‚¢ŠG artists. Many of their compositions show the influence of warrior depictions *musha-e •ŽÒŠG, perhaps reflecting a diffusion of the popular warrior tale ZENTAIHEIKI ‘O‘¾•½‹L which includes related descriptions.
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