Shoki the Demon Queller
Shoki was a physician who aspired to be a servant of the Chinese imperial palace, but he was not able to do this because of his disfigurement. After his suicide, the Emperor Xuanzong felt sorry for him and gave him the title “Doctor of Zhongnanshan.” From that moment on, Shoki’s soul guarded the emperor against demons and goblins.
Sad Faced Demon
The above design (Fig.1.) depicts Shoki making love to a sad faced red demon. The level of Kyosai’s humour is immediately apparent. He was a true genius at this as can be noticed in the details. Look for instance at the facial expression of the submissive green demon handing tissues to the determined Shoki. The skirt of the red demon laying beside them, is also a hilarious detail.
Fig.2. is among Kyosai’s best non-shunga designs. It shows Shoki, the Demon Queller sitting on a running tiger, flaunting his two-edged sword at a gang of scared demons. At the time, paintings of Shoki were hung on Boy’s Day (5th day of the 5th month). This explains why Kyosai chose this subject for May.
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