'Tamatori' the Pearl Diver Escaping the Dragon King'
This print depicts the Pearl diver 'Tamatori', who has penetrated the Dragon King’s palace, plunging through waves with outstretched knife and the Treasure Pearl, pursued by a dragon while escaping from the Dragon King. The image is based upon the famous story of 'Princess Tamatori'. In the story, Tamatori is a modest shell diver who marries Fujiwara no Fuhito of the Fujiwara clan, who is searching for a pearl stolen from his family by Ryūjin, the dragon god of the sea. Vowing to help, Tamatori dives down to Ryūjin's undersea palace of Ryūgū-jō, and is pursued by the god and his army of sea creatures, including octopuses. She cuts open her own breast and places the jewel inside; this allows her to swim faster and escape, but she dies from her wound soon after reaching the surface. The Tamatori story was a popular subject in ukiyo-e art. Utagawa Kuniyoshi produced works based on it, which often include octopuses among the creatures being evaded by the bare-breasted diver. This print was first introduced in 1853, this edition dates to c1950. The print sight size is 15.5" x 10.5", and the frame measures 19" x 15". This print is in fine condition, the shadows are simply glare from the camera. P90534