the life of things: the dishcloth dragon
In Japanese folklore all things have a spirit (or a kami residing within them), including such items as household tools and objects. In literature and illustrated books there are many examples of yōkai (a supernatural monster or spirit/妖怪) which have been transformed from everyday items into mischievous characters once they reach 100 years in age. But in addition, any object which has a life in your home might develop a personality of its own based on its interactions with humans and the other tools around it. My 'life of things' pieces tell the stories of these things and reminds us not to take them for granted.
The dishcloth dragon was inspired by the 'shiro-uneri' or white winder, first shown in Toriyama Sekien's 'The Illustrated Horde of Haunted Housewares, Vol I', and described as a 'cloth transformed' - shaped like a very tatty dragon and hanging on a bamboo pole outside a dilapidated house. The creature makes several appearances in the animated series of Shigeru Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitarō on Japanese tv, sometimes shown as a cute little dust cloth that increases in size and power the filthier it gets.
The dishcloth dragon is my take on this yōkai - a cloth way past its prime, with loose threads, tears and any number of unidentifiable stains. It is known to chase people around their homes and loves trying to suffocate by wrapping its mouldy, stinky body around peoples faces. The best way to diminish its power is to cut it up into smaller rags and discard any really worn parts.
A4 hand stamped print - individually printed using Japanese pigment inks and hand carved rubber printing blocks, with ink details. Each print will have natural small variations, due to the methods used - the one you receive may not be exactly the same as the one shown in the photographs.
Printed on 100g oatmeal 100% recycled paper (with natural flecks).
Paper size: A4 (210 × 297 mm or 8.27 × 11.69 inches).
Signed in pencil and stamped with nakamura characters [中村] in red ink.