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What about Wakana-Hime and her Spider Magic?

Wakana-Hime should be remembered as one of the most courageous. Is it the creepy crawling? Is it the possibility of getting bitten? Venom running through the veins? Where do we find the natural fear of letting go of control. Finding a companion in dark times. Communicating with a dog maybe easier due to social practice, but how does it work with the 8 legged friends?

Certainly spiders have feelings and of course a conscious mind, but unlike with cats and dogs they won’t bond with you. So how did Wakana-Hime manage?

The story so far…

The Tale of Shiranui (Jap. Shiranui Monogatari) is an illustrated comic book that was published in Japan between 1849 and 1855. As a matter of fact it’s part of the Biyu Suikoden, the Story tells about the clash between the Kikuchi and Otomo clans. Princess Wakana is given the power of spider magic 美勇水滸伝 by the Spirit of the Earth Spider. The young princess Otomo Wakana (大友若菜姫) who, using a magic scroll, evokes a giant spider tsuchigumo (土蜘蛛) that will help her to take her revenge on the Kikuchi clan (菊池家), responsible for her father’s death in the context of a feud.

Drawing of Japanese (princess Wakana-Hime) women holding a scroll while sitting on a spider. The pencils and drawing accessories are scattered on top of the picture. Irezumi, Horimono, Wabori
Preperation sketch of Princess Wakana-Hime by 2nd generation Kisaragi 2023

Ancient art and stories from Japan

Sensei Kisaragi1/Horikoi1 (passed away May, 2022) from Toyohashi enjoyed spending time viewing woodblock prints. He said they pass on the ancient art and stories that are important to succeed in our work as Horishi. Its our obligation to carry on and convey the traditions of Horimono. He enjoyed the works of many Ukiyo-E artists, especially the schoolers of Utagawa Toyokuni1.

To truely understand Horimono as Horishi we can conclude, that it is particularly important to constantly spend time reading, sketching and drawing to furthermore understand the basics. I enjoy the intention of the story. Unlike many designs this one hits the eye and makes sure that everybody meaning you bad, will stay away from you! Regardlessly, for those who perceive the intended meaning, it’s beauty will grow on you.

Wakana-Hime Irezumi

With this saga in mind and all things considered, I decided to study and re-design the best possible pose suitable for Horimono a.k.a Irezumi. My illustration is showing Princess Wakana-Hime unfurling the magic scroll that conjures the spirit of the Earth Spider. I hope you will enjoy it and come join me.