Shoki drives out evil spirits instantly

Utagawa Kuniyoshi
1797 - 1861
Shoki drives out evil spirits instantly
Shoki san jaki ni sokuto
Woodblock prints, nishiki-e
Vertical ôban diptych, right sheet 360 x 253 mm, left sheet 360 x 250, overall size 360 x 503 mm

Signature: Ichiyȗsai Kuniyoshi fude and red Yutaka seal on the right sheet
Publisher: Enshuya Hikobei
Date seal: Horse 8 (1858)

Fine impression of this very rare diptych, unknown to Robinson (link to Kuniyoshi Project); fine colour and condition, unobtrusive binding holes on one side of each sheet.

This diptych depicts Shoki the Demon Queller springing backwards in a warlike pose and extending his sword to ward off sickness and evil spirits. In this instance the ‘evil spirit’ is alcohol. The inset shows a geisha, lantern in hand, guiding a group of drunkards. They, in turn, support their thoroughly intoxicated and incapacitated companion.

Playing on the verb 'shōki' (sobering up) and Shoki, the Demon Queller’s name, the inscription (upper right) reads: ‘Stirred by alcohol, this type of drunkard tames the demons of the heart, and after sobering up faces Shoki, full of regret’.

Price: 3,900.00 €