Posted by Horst Graebner (126.96.36.199) on May 07, 2011 at 19:37:54:
In Reply to: Amaterasu print posted by Horst Graebner on April 18, 2011 at 21:32:03:
Thanks to all for their ideas and help.
From Dr. Sepp Linhart, proffessor at the East-Asia department of the University of Vienna, I got the solution of the clue. He wrote:
„The subject of the picture probably is a (buddhist) critic of the policy of separation of Buddhism from Shintōism resp. the one-sided preference of Shintōism and the dicrimination of Buddhism by the new Meiji gouverment (See Wikipedia entries for "Haibutsu kishaku" and "Shinbutsu kakuri").
Center of the picture: Amaterasu leaving the rock cave, very young and probably also symbol for the young tennō Meiji and for Shintōism in general. In front of her the deities Ōkuninushi and Susanoo, below Sarutahiko with the long nose. These are the three major deities of Shintōism for which lots of new shrines were built where people are praying to them (right below). On their cloths there are inscriptions like “yorokobu“ (we are happy) resp. “ureshii“ (what happiness). Phoenix and a dragon, the most noble beasts, are probably also symbols for the tennō.
The left side of the picture below depicts two soldiers, one of them sitting on a pouch of higo-mai (rice from Higo, Kyūshū), probably representing the Satsuma Army'swhich was partially militarily fighting against Buddhism. The small figures above are tama, spirits which often could be found in ukiyoe, representing the good and the bad. They bear inscriptions like “Nippon'ichi“ (number one of Japan, probably the tennō resp. the Shintōism), genuineness, soul and kindness. Top left: buddhist statues are demolished by oni (demons) and on which a nacked buttock flatulates, a symbol for Satsuma whose sweetpotatoes (satsumaimo) cause heavy flatulence.
Center below shows a sansukumi (snake, slug and frog) representing a state of equilibrium.
Signature right: Reijatei [靈じゃ亭], = house of spirits, souls, the dead; left: unreadable.
Alternative, more plausible reading Damajatte(i), meaning "We have been deceived/cheated" (dialect for damasarete).
Kyōsai designed similar images for the same reason. The acutal picture may have been designed by Hiroshige III or Yoshimori or another pupil of Kuniyoshi, not so highly gifted as Kyōsai.„
Additional information: the print is handcolored.
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