Yokai: The Ancient Prints


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Yokai: The Ancient Prints of Japanese Monsters by Paolo Linetti

Hardcover – Skira – Feb 2023 – 207 pages

A fantastic journey of discovery into the Japanese imagination, ranging from the famous manga notebooks by Hokusai (alongside other masterpieces of his) to prints, to rare antique books, clothes, swords and even a samurai suit of armor, in addition to precious netsuke. Stories blending myth, thrills and mystery in around two hundred works of “horror” by the greatest Japanese artists of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The long Pax Tokugawa was founded on the blood of forty thousand severed enemies’ heads; banishing the memories and horrors of the past, it favored the development of epic tales, giving rise to dark, terrifying atmospheres, such as that of the game of a hundred candles, a test of courage in which a handful of warriors gathered on a summer night telling horror stories populated by monsters belonging to the national tradition.

Thus we have Jorogumos, attractive women who reveal their real nature as enormous spiders to their victims; Tanks, likable transforming badgers; Bakeneko,monstrous cats; Kappas, aquatic beings that harass bathers; Ningyos, mermaids whose perfumed meat can give men new youth or a horrible death.


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