Artist: OLEKSII GNIEVYSHEV Original painting Myths, Legends & Folk tale art collection
Title: OKAMI Japanese folk tale art
Medium: Oil on canvas shipped either as stretched panel only ready to hang or with exhibition framed contemporary silver/ gold frame 95mm
Size: 100cm x 80cm
See this artist’s other work and his biography.
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MADE IN JAPAN COLLECTION
The Japanese wolf is worshipped in Japan and is particularly revered in Chichibu where many shrines pay tribute to the animals. One such shrine, Mitsumine Shrine, is said to have been founded by a prince, who after becoming lost in the mists of the Okuchichibu mountain range while on a mission to subdue a warring tribe, was guided to safety by a great white wolf.
Modern Japanese arts and literature also pay reference to the wolves. The animated film Princess Mononoke (1997), which is said to be based on the legend of the Mitsumine Shrine, features a great white wolf goddess that raises a human child called San, played by Yuriko Ishida in Japan
In folklore, the wolf was associated with the mountains (山, yama) and was thought to be both benevolent and malevolent. It is quick and agile, and Yanagita Kunio, the father of Japanese folklore studies, said that “the wolf can hide even where there is only a single reed”. In Edo period Japan, the word yama-inu became slang for a rabid dog.
On the other hand, the wolf has a benevolent side as well. At night when travellers are lost in the mountains, the wolf at times will escort them to the doors of their homes. In such capacity, these wolves are known as okuri-ôkami (送り狼, “sending wolf”). In some stories of okuri-ôkami, the wolf is never seen, but its presence is known by the constant chirping of a sparrow at the traveller’s side.