Japanese Art:Archives

Japanese Namazu-e Earthquake Woodblock Print Catfish
item#: 1076453
price: SOLD
Rare Edo period Japanese namazu-e (earthquake fish picture) woodblock print featuring a giant human-like catfish receiving punishment after being found guilty by a judge for causing the Ansei earthquake of 1855. A group of human-like catfish watch as the punishment is being meted out. In Japanese mythology, it was believed that giant catfish living underground caused earthquakes with their thrashing movements. A series of namazu-e were published anonymously in Japan shortly after the Ansei earthquake hit Edo (now Tokyo) in 1855. The prints were believed to offer protection against future earthquakes and were purchased as amulets. This horizontal image has very good color and is not backed. 14 7/8”V x 10 1/8”H. There is some pale purple pigment transference scattered in the background and there is a worm trail at the upper right. A thinned area in the paper in the lower right section has been professinally reinforced. The print has minor soiling and a few tiny binding holes. This print is from a New Orleans collection.

Japanese Namazu-e Earthquake Woodblock Print Catfish