The Violent Universum of Yoshitoshi and Kuniyoshi
In the previous article the cannibalistic serial-killer The Hag of the Lonely House was introduced. She chased travellers, in particular pregnant women. In the story The Hag uses her beautiful daughter to attract strangers with the single purpose to kill them. Unfortunately for her things don’t work out because the daughter falls in love with one of the male victims. Eventually she kills the daughter.
The above triptych is from a series of three triptychs depicting half-length portraits of actor based on the Snow, Moon, and Flowers theme. This design is the Flowers theme expressed by the yugao (gourd or moon-flower). The play was performed at the Ichimuraza Theatre 4/5/1890.
It is a more poetic, less violent interpretation of the The Hag theme than the previous image including the pregnant lady. The poem in the left cartouche reads: ‘Through the yugao vines, a high wind moans at the eaves.’ The actor Onoe Kikugoro was a close friend of Yoshitoshi. Considered to be amongst Yoshitoshi’s best designs.
Above Kuniyoshi‘s version of the popular story of The Hag. The psychotic old lady who ran a guesthouse where she killed and devoured young women until one of them was saved by the goddess of mercy (depicted on the left).
The Hag of the Lonely House with a female victim tied to a wooden pole lying on the ground and a manifestation of the goddess Kwannon in the background. The Hag is holding a glass jar in order to collect the blood of the terrified woman. This print was issued in April of the year 1856.
In the final article of this three-part non-sequential series we’ll examine Yoshitoshi’s bloody pictures !