top of page

Artist: unsigned (Yoshiharu ?)

Subject: An Elephant

Date: c. 1800 

Format: dai-oban


Both unusual in format and subject, depictions of rare animals began to become popular during the 1800's when a variety of diseases such as influenza, small pox, and measles was spreading like fire throughout Japan. Many Japanese began clinging to superstition and other beliefs as nothing seemed to be able to stop the spread of disease. The color red was thought to ward small pox and little books printed with red pigment were given to small children as protection. Animals became either harbringers of disease and death if sighted by a person, or a means to cure disease if they were drawn or printed on paper. A variety of rare anmials were thought to have special abilities and were turned into drawings and prints to be hung around the house to ward against sickness and death.

Unsigned - Elephant


    Related Products