Mirror With the Design of a Nine-Tailed Fox

Harukawa Goshichi Japanese

Edo period (1615–1868)

Not on view

The kyōka ("mad poem") by Tsurunoya reads:

Kumori naki I shōma no Kagami I
kage susa wa I Dakki no shaku no
I kyūbi saki kamo

Referring to the legend of the manipulative and provoking Dafei, favorite concubine of King Zhou of the Shang dynasty, this poem asks: May not the tips of nine tails reflected in an unspotted mirror be the Nine-Tailed Fox?

Surimono were privately commissioned prints for special occasions, such as New Year's. Both an unstained mirror and this magical animal are auspicious New Year's omens.

Mirror With the Design of a Nine-Tailed Fox, Harukawa Goshichi (Japanese, 1776–1831), Woodblock print (surimono); ink and color on paper, Japan

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