Jul 7, 2014

The Cave Door of Spring

The Cave Door of Spring



Part of a set. See all set records

Totoya Hokkei 魚屋 北渓

(Japanese, 1780–1850)

Pentaptych of woodblock prints; ink and color on paper

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

Bequest of James Parmelee 1940.990



These prints form a composition inspired by a story about the deity 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. The scene across the prints is unified by embossed clouds enriched with gold, silver, and copper.

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