Goblin Spider

Utagawa Toyokuni III (Kunisada I).

甲子曽我大国柱」若菜姫/沢村田之助 他 二枚続 裏打

From left: the Kabuki actors Nakamura Shikan IV playing the role of Shūsaku, and Sawamura Tanosuke III in the role of Wakana-hime, in the play ‘Kinoe-ne Soga Daikokubashira’, staged at the Morita-za Theatre in the 2nd month of 1864.

(左から: 四代目中村芝翫の秋作と三代目沢村田之助の若菜姫・元治元年二月、守田座、「甲子曽我大国柱」)

In very ancient books it is said  there used to be many goblin-spiders in Japan. Some folks declare there are still some goblin-spiders. During the daytime they look just like common spiders; but very late at night, when everybody is asleep, and there is no sound, they become very big, and do awful things. Goblin-spiders are supposed also to have the magical power of taking human shape, so as to deceive people.

Condition: Faded with age, margins as shown.

Date: 1864

Publisher’s Mark: ‘Etsu-ka’ = Echizen-ya Kajū (「越嘉」 = 越前屋嘉十)