Zeshin: Okame
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The smiling chubby-faced fortune goddess Okame (aka Otafuku) kneeling on the ground and stirring red paint in a small bowl with a brush. On the floor before her a box with red paint, a bowl of green paint and a temari ball (artistically wrapped with coloured threads and traditionally given to children at New Year).

Signature: Zeshin. Seal: Tairûkyo

Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya), Tokyo

Date: 1880s

Original Japanese colour woodblock print. Size: Shikishiban, 24 x 25,3 cm (overall)

Excellent early impression, excellent colours, with silver mica. Untrimmed and unbacked. Small faint finger-stain in bottom left, otherwise excellent and crisp condition. A rarely seen image. Ill. in Milne Henderson, Zeshin & Related Artists, London, n.d. (1978), no. 11; cf. also Harvard Art Museums, no. 1933.4.937; Smithsonian no. S2003.8.2195; Edo-Tokyo Museum no. 88004195.
The popular figure of the Okame has its roots in the mythical Ame no Uzume, who, according to legend, provoked by her dance the enraged sun goddess Amaterasu to reappear from the cave she had been hiding in. Okame is therefore also considered the ancestress of dance and theatre.