除災招福 JO SAI SHO FUKU
(WARD OFF CALAMITIES, INVITE GOOD LUCK):
GODS AND YOKAI IN TIME OF PANDEMIC
Oil on canvas
10.7 x 8.7 inches (27.3 x 22 cm)
When we look back at books of ancient History, Fairy Tales and Folklore, we can discover how our ancestors endured and held it together in times of calamity. Japan is known as the country where the living coexist with myriads of gods, goddesses, and spiritual creatures called yokai. People believed every natural phenomena, every object, artificial or not, is inhabited by a spirit. There are gods who are causing natural disasters and yokai that are saving us. One such spirit creature, Amabie, predicts pandemic. It is a mermaid or merman with three leg-fins who appears from the sea and predicts abundant harvest or pandemic. A woodblock print newspaper from 1846 reported that a glowing Amabie appeared from the offshore of Higono-kuni (today the Kumamoto Prefecture), told local officers that people would enjoy abundant harvest for six years, while suffering from pandemic. The creature instructed the officers to draw an image of itself, and show the drawing to the people to save them from the pandemic. This story of Amabie and its whimsical image recently became an instant meme surging on the internet in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
SEIZAN Gallery is excited to announce that we will collaborate with artists to present our Online Group Show, “Jo Sai Sho Fuku (Ward off Calamities, Invite Good Luck) : Gods and Yokai in the Time of Pandemic.” The artists will reimagine and recreate images of spirits from old history books and tales including the amabie and others who saved human beings in times of calamity. Works will be presented on our website (www.seizan-gallery.com, art-japan.jp) and on social networks in the coming weeks.
We believe that art keeps us together in difficult times. It is more important than ever to stay in touch. We at SEIZAN will continue to stay strong, support our community, and provide art that is a source of comfort and inspiration.
As we go through this period of physical distancing, our New York and Tokyo Galleries are temporarily closed to the public. For press inquiries and sales, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Artworks will be shipped from Japan after May.
A woodblock print newspaper dated in May, 1846, includes a report on the appearance of Amabie from offshore in Higono-kuni (today the Kumamoto Prefecture). In the collection of Kyoto University Library.