Monday, March 21, 2011

Nue take Two

See? I told you I could do a better one. The nue is a fearsome monster from Japan, often compared with the Greek chimera for the way it combines attributes of three different creatures. It has the head and cruelty of a monkey, the body and strength of a tiger, and the tail and toxins of a serpent. Traditionally they are thought to bring misfortune and illness. The most famous account of a nue takes place in the Japanese epic The Tale of the Heike, where Emperor Konoe falls ill and suffers terrible nightmares after a dark cloud covers his palace. The legendary hero, Minamoto no Yorimasa staked out the roof and shot an arrow into the mass of darkness. Despite the darkness, the arrow found its mark and the corpse of the nue fell out of the cloud. The body was dumped into the sea, where it washed up on the shore of a small fishing village. Naturally, the villagers were shocked and buried the creature. Supposedly, you can still see the burial mound to this beast today.

As you may have noticed, I'm quite fond of Japanese monsters. I studied Japanese art and folklore at university and spent all together about a year and a half living in Japan. Japan is an important part of my own history, and Tokyo in particular is one of my favorite cities in the world. So as you can guess, I've been paying close attention to the news from there right now. Thankfully, all my friends in Japan have been safe so far, but a still I wouldn't feel right if I didn't remind everyone who stumbles upon this post that a lot of people there could use help. If you're not sure who to donate to, the Red Cross is always a good one. Doctors Without Borders is also a good choice. You can't donate to them specifically for Japan, but one of the reasons they've been so quick in response to disasters like in Japan and Haiti is because of long term funding and preparing.

I have lots of drawings this week, stay tuned.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

It was worth waiting for. . .I like the fierceness and the whimsical. The writing is interesting and informative. Is this still by iPad? When you are in USA this summer you should do a workshop on how to use the iPad for this.