Firefly Squid "Chindon'ya"

dosankodebbie

Sapporo, Japan

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Artist's Description

This is an Etegami painting on a soft washi card. Etegami is a traditional Japanese folk art that combines simple images with thoughtful words.

Firefly Squid, or Hotaru-ika as they are known in Japan, are tiny creatures that light up the surface of the black night ocean as though it had been scattered with truckloads of diamonds. It is one of the most beautiful, bewitching sights that I have ever seen.

The Japanese letters that accompany the image say “chindon’ya” and refer to the costumed, noisy groups of performers that used to weave through the streets of Japanese cities, advertising the opening of a new store or a special event when I was a child (sort of like sandwich men in the west), but are extremely rare nowadays. I think the phrase came to mind because the shape and sparkle of the firefly squid reminded me of those flashy performers with their musical instruments, triangular headgear, and bamboo-framed umbrellas.

Materials used for this piece are sumi ink, gansai paints, and absorbent washi cardstock. The drawing tools I used are natural fiber Japanese writing brushes. Dimensions of the original work are 10cm x 15cm (approx. 4” x 6”).

Artwork Comments

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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